Pat Baker - REALTY EXECUTIVES Boston West



Posted by Pat Baker on 11/24/2017

Preparing your home is one of the most important things you can do before leaving for an extended period of time.

Whether you have a vacation home that you spend your summer months in, you travel for work, or you simply have a second property that will be unoccupied for an extended period of time, itís vital to take the steps to preparing the home for the elements while you are gone.

In this article, weíll talk about winterizing, preparing a home for heavy rains, and protecting it from a number of external forces. That way you can rest assured that your property will be safe while youíre away, saving you money in costly repairs.

Winterizing

Many Americans spend the winter months in a warmer climate. Similarly, it has become quite common to purchase vacation homes and cabins in the northern part of the country to visit during the summer months. Regardless, these homes will have to be winterized to avoid damage.

First, and most important, be sure to turn off the water at the main supply sources. Next, open up your faucets and drain all of the lines that carry water throughout your home and yard. Drain, and put away your garden hose, to protect it and your fittings from damage.

Now that youíre protected against water damage, youíll want to protect against potential fires. Turn off and unplug all appliances. Not only is this a way to avoid fire, but it will also help you avoid needlessly spending on electricity.

Itís a good idea to turn your thermostat down so that your home is kept above freezing, but not at a needlessly high temperature.

Preparing a home for extended leave

Even if your home isnít facing the winter cold, there are still measures that should be taken during an extended leave.

Cleaning your refrigerator out completely and then washing the interior will help avoid odors from spreading throughout the house.

Other odors can arise from the drains in your home, especially if itís likely to get hot. To prevent this you can cover up your drains with painterís tape.

Youíll also want to remove any food from your cabinets that could attract mice, ants, or other pests. While youíre cleaning, wash and put away any linens that you wonít be using for some time.

Be sure arrangements have been made at the post office for any mail you receive at your home. You could set up mail forwarding, have neighbors take in your mail, or purchase a PO box for the time youíre away. Regardless, itís a good idea to not have mail piling up outside an empty home as it could attract the attention of those seeking to benefit from your house being vacant.

Before leaving, make sure all windows and doors are closed and locked. Remove any spare keys from obvious locations around your home, and make arrangements for someone, such as a neighbor, to check on the home and report any problems to you.




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Posted by Pat Baker on 11/17/2017

Any pet owner will tell you that their pets are a part of the family. They bring joy to new families getting their first dog, and companionship to people who would otherwise live alone. However, they also bring the pet odors associated with having them around the house.

Since we spend so much time in our own homes, we oftentimes donít even notice pet odors. So, even if you think your home is free of odors, itís a good idea to get an unbiased opinion of the various odors of your home so that you can address them if necessary.

In this article, weíre going to teach you how to identify and neutralize those pet odors before the open house or first home showing. That way you can make the best impression on potential sellers and leave them feeling like your home has been well-maintained.

Identifying pet odors in your home

Whether youíve got a dog, cat, rabbit, or hamster, odds are your little friend puts off some amount of odor. To discover where, if any, odors can be found, invite a friend over to your home who isnít familiar with the smells and ask them their honest opinions about the various rooms in your home. This will give you a good idea of where you need to focus your efforts.

Important areas to clean

First thingís first: the fabrics, surfaces, furniture, and carpet in your home in your home hold onto odor the most. Renting or buying a carpet cleaner, mopping the hard surfaces, and washing or refreshing curtains is a great place to start.

Many steam cleaners can be used on various surfaces, making them a good solution to get the most value out of your cleaning budget.

Donít forget the carpet pad

If your pets have ever had ďaccidentsĒ on your carpets, itís vital to remember that their mess likely soaked through the carpet onto the carpet pad. While it may seem like a lot of effort to pull up the carpet just to clean the pad, it may be your only option in severe cases of pet odors.  

Painting

Repainting is a guaranteed way to remove any lingering odors in your home. Try to time your painting so that the room has the chance to air out and the smell of fresh paint isnít overpowering.

Repainting is also the perfect opportunity to brighten up the rooms of your home, making them feel more spacious. Sticking to neutral, proven colors will give you the most bang for your buck.

Let some fresh air in

Before showing your home, open up the doors and windows and doors to closets and basements and let a draft run through the house. This can eliminate any musty smells that have accumulated in the lesser used parts of your home, as well as help mitigate the effect of pet odor.

Last minute additions

The day of showing your home, use a high-quality scented candle or two in places that your pets frequent. You donít want it to be obvious that youíre trying to mask any bad odors, so donít use anything overpowering. Rather, opt for a pleasant-to-neutral fragrance that isnít too noticeable.




Tags: selling your home   dogs   cats   pet odor  
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Posted by Pat Baker on 11/10/2017

Itís difficult to tackle so many projects throughout your home without feeling overwhelmed. This is why itís a great idea to take each part of the house piece by piece. Thereís plenty of quick updates that you can make to your bedroom without breaking a sweat. The idea is to make little changes that have a big impact. Here, weíll show you some easy updates that will make a big difference in your bedroom. Use Color To Your Advantage Adding bursts of color is the easiest, yet the most often overlooked decorating technique. You can add bits of color all over your bedroom. From small accents like picture frames and vases, itís simple to add some color here and there. It will make a huge impact on the room. Feel Your Way Around The Room The textures you use in your bedroom is important to how comfortable the room feels. You can mix and match the linens in your bedroom from the type of throw you use to the type of rug thatís present on the floor. Youíll want to consider changing these a few times a year to match with the seasons. Warmer, fuzzier linens are best for the winter whereas lighter linens are perfect for summer. Suit Your Style Thereís different textures and different items that match up with certain styles and themes. If youíre going for a more romantic feel, consider using velvets and cozy looking throws. Leather gives a more rustic feel whereas blown glass and antique-finished woods provide the feel of country living. If youíre looking for more of a modern bedroom, try teak wood, smooth leather and even plastic touches to achieve your look. Change Your Accent Pillows And Shams Thereís something to be said for simply changing the pillows in your bedroom. Any throw pillows or pillow shams that are present in your bedroom could use a change each season or two. This will give you a fresh perspective instead of the same old tired bedding and accents. These simple changes can make a noticeable difference in your bedroom. Making these changes will also give you something to look forward to each and every season. Change Your Window Treatments Changing your curtains along with the seasons is a great idea as well. In the colder months, you may want to hang more insulated curtains to hold the heat in your room. In the summer months, light and airy curtains will help you to beat the heat. Make It Personal Your bedroom is the perfect place to hang your treasured photographs and artwork. Change up the pictures in your frames and the artwork on the walls every so often so that you can keep your memories flowing with goodness. Youíll get tired of staring at the same artwork day after day. By mixing it up, youíll be able to showcase all of your favorite things throughout the year!





Posted by Pat Baker on 11/3/2017

When you're a new homeowner, it's hard to refrain from walking down the aisle of Bed Bath & Beyond and dumping everything you see into your cart. Initially, when making a shopping list for your new home it will seem like you need everything††and you need it†now.†It doesn't always make sense, however, to go on shopping sprees and starting several different renovation projects at once in your new home. Whether you need to be conservative with your money or you want to take your time and furnish†one room of your house at a time, creating a household spending budget can be an invaluable tool. In this article, we'll cover how to make your own personalized household budget that you and your family or housemates can use to keep yourselves accountable when it comes to making your new house uniquely your own.

Set priorities

Moving into a new home†can be sort of like camping out for the first few nights. Many of the basic things you take for granted might not be unpacked †or set up yet. Other items you might still need to purchase. This is a good reminder of which items matter the most when moving into a home. When you prepare to make your budget, think about the items on your list that are the most vital to your daily life. This may be different for each person. If you're an avid yoga practitioner but your yoga mat got ruined in the move, buying a new one might be higher up on your list of priorities than the average person who occasionally stretches. The best way to find out what items are high up on your list is to go through a few days in your new home and write down everything you need, then arrange it in order of importance. From there, we can start setting your budget.

Budgeting tools

Depending on how comfortable you are with technology, you have several options when it comes to ways of keeping a budget. In your Appstore you'll find a plethora of free budgeting apps that all fit a specific need. One of the most popular, Mint, connects securely with your bank account and lets you set up several budgets. It will track your income and spending and categorize your purchases automatically (groceries, gas, bills, etc.). You can set a "household" budget in Mint and make sure all your home purchases go into that category. If you're more inclined to using a spreadsheet, you can use Google Sheets, or a program like Excel to create your budget. The benefit of using Google Sheets is that it is easily shared and synced with others, allowing you to collaborate on the budget together. Your final option is to use a good old fashion hand-written budget. If you don't want it to be forgotten, you could hang it on the refrigerator or write†it on a whiteboard hung somewhere highly visible in your house.

Commitment

The hardest part of budgeting is committing to it. You and your housemates will need to work together to make sure you keep track of your purchases and take the time to plan out your budget, be it weekly or monthly. The best way to do this is to set a reminder in your calendar†for a budget planning day once per month with your housemates. Decide what needs to be purchased and who will be buying it. Once you've made a habit of keeping your household budget, you'll be on your way to†completing your home in a way that makes sense for you financially.




Tags: budgeting   home   house   apps   advice   budget   tips   appstore  
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Posted by Pat Baker on 10/27/2017

Renting a house offers financial rewards. It also offers a unique set of challenges.

Demand for rental homes has increased in parts of the United States,making renting out a portion of your house or, better yet, your entire home a good option to bring in more income. Rising mortgage rates and a shortage of affordable, quality rental properties is helping to drive the demand. So too is the demand for temporary housing to attend one-time events like weddings, graduations and business meetings that last for three days or longer.

The latter rental demand may generally be associated with luxury rental properties. But, it isnít only the wealthy who are renting out their houses. Success of businesses like Airbnb prove that thereís a large number of people who are open to renting out their house for a limited or extended period.  

Cover the bases before you start house renting

Companies that operate house rentals that you can reserve online may be new. However, the concept of house renting is not new.  People rented out rooms in their house during the Second World War. During the 1940s, house renting served as a source of income for women whose husbands and sons fought or died in the war.

Then and now, there are challenges that come with house renting. When house renting, you generally have less regulation. Although you are required to adhere to local and federal housing laws, because youíre renting out a single home, youíll likely experience less hands on review and enforcement from local housing authorities.

Alone, this could present problems. Lack of oversight could tempt you to drop your guard which, over time, could cause your property to become non-compliant. It could also cause renting out your house to cost more than itís worth. Some ways that this could occur are:

  • Unsafe chemicals Ė Materials and chemicals like lead and carbon monoxide can make your home unsafe. If you donít pay to install detectors, you might be renting out a house that makes people ill without knowing it. For example, carbon monoxide levels that exceed 35 ppm are considered to be toxic.
  • Poor landlords Ė A poor disposition could turn you into a bad landlord. Short patience can lead to festering disagreements and heated arguments with tenants. As you deal with property damage, pets and loud music, you could accuse tenants of engaging in unwanted behaviors that they mayor may not have been involved in. This could cost you legal fees should a tenant take you to court. It could also cost you future rents should a former tenant create bad word-of-mouth marketing for you.
  • Pests Ė You might love your pets, but a tenant could see Fido as a pest. Not only that, once you enter the house renter arena,youíll have to ensure that your entire house stays free of insects and other pests.
  • Poor or no maintenance service Ė Rent out your house and you wonít get to skimp on maintenance. In addition to paying for regular maintenance, youíll be responsible for buying and installing new or good performing appliances like ovens, refrigerators and washing machines and clothes dryers.

Both you and the tenants who rent out your house should win. Your house should meet housing codes and allow renters to experience a safe, comfortable stay. If you keep tenants a priority, you will perform regular inspections,maintenance and repairs on your house. This positions you for another advantage.Not only could your house become increasingly attractive to renters, your house should pass inspections without you needing to pay for more repairs should you decide to sell your house.




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