Wendy Carson - Putting that little 'extra' in extraordinary service!

Searching Properties
Please Wait

Results For Tag: tips

Saving Energy This Winter: 5 Tips

November 13, 2015 |  Article By :   | 
Saving Energy in Winter

Improve your home’s heat retention! (Image courtesy of Wikipedia)

Retain heat this winter with these 5 fast tips

Saving energy –and especially, saving money—is a priority for most homeowners during the winter months. Every time the furnace starts humming, we get an audible reminder that a little more of the paycheck just went up in flames to keep the frigid outdoor temperatures at bay.

Because so much of the year is spent in uncomfortably cool temperature ranges, Minnesotan homeowners have more time to reap the benefits of efficient heat retention strategies. Fortunately, you won’t have to break the bank or spend all your weekends updating your house. Here are five tips that will keep your home warm this winter for less:

1. Update Door Weatherstripping

This is a fast, inexpensive way to stop heat from escaping your house, and for keeping heat out in the warmer months, too. Weatherstripping is the soft, spongey bumper that runs along the threshold of exterior doors and windows. It forms a seal between the closed window or door and the threshold’s trim. The rubber-like material can break down, crack, or come loose from the threshold over time, which lets warm air out and cold air in. Replacing weatherstripping is simple: just pull off the old, and stick on the new! You can find replacement strips at a hardware or home improvement store.

2. Seal up the Fireplace

If you aren’t using your fireplace, seal it up!
A traditional wood-burning fireplace is a heat drain when not in use. If you can’t sit near the fireplace in winter without throwing on a sweater, you’re losing heat up your chimney! While closing the damper (also called a “flue”) is a good start, but the thin metal plates don’t provide very much protection from the cold. You can buy purpose-built inflatable chimney plug balloons online and at various retailers for added protection. If you’d rather make something yourself, you can make a cover for the inside of your fireplace from rigid foam insulation board. With some careful measuring and cutting, the foam has just enough flex around the edges to make wedging it above the fireplace and below the damper an easy 5-minute job.

3. Take advantage of Sunlight

Sunlight is one of the most obvious yet overlooked heat sources for homes in the winter. It’s so efficient, that the Mall of America in Bloomington, MN uses sunlight alone to maintain its balmy 70-degree temperature, even in the subzero Minnesota winter. That’s right, America’s largest indoor mall has no centralized heating: just a lot of windows facing the sun! http://www.mallofamerica.com/about/moa/green-initiatives

4. Use your Ceiling Fans

We usually associate ceiling fans with keeping us cool, but they are also useful in the winter months, too. Hot air that might otherwise be trapped near the ceiling can be pushed back down where it’s useful: around you!

5. Let your Vents Breathe

When possible, move your furniture away from air vents. If you have any vents that are obstructed by furniture, shut them off so that the air passes to the next available vent. Otherwise, you’re just paying to heat the pocket of air underneath the couch, which isn’t saving energy!

Staging Your Home in the Autumn

September 21, 2015 |  Article By :   | 

This article originally appeared on the realtor.com® website on September 29, 2014. The article was written by Craig Donofrio and can be viewed in its entirety here under its original title, “Autumn Advantage: 4 Tips for Staging Your Home in Fall”.

Autum - Staging your home in the autumnStaging Your Home in the Autumn

A crisp chill in the air, the turning of leaves and the scent of pumpkin spice are all hallmarks of fall.

There’s no doubt it’s a beautiful season, and if you’re planning on selling your home by the end of the year, you can capitalize on all the good work nature already provides when staging your home.

Accentuate the Positives When Staging Your Home

You want your home to stand out when you put it on the market, so start at the curb.

To play up the fall feel outside of your home, clean up flower beds and rake any leaves off your lawn—the first thing buyers should notice is the changing colors on your trees, not the muddled dead leaves on the grass.

Add a wreath of seasonal plants on the front door for a finishing touch.

In the backyard, store away any summer items like pool floats, inflatable water slides and tiki torches. Add fall-related decor like a self-contained fire pit and warm-colored cushions on your patio furniture to create an outdoor space perfect for chilly evenings.

You can also add a pumpkin to the front stoop, but don’t carve it up because it will spoil much faster.

Remember to avoid using a pumpkin altogether if the weather is bitterly cold already, as it will rot faster—that will only attract flies.

Bring the Colors Indoors

Autumn’s natural color scheme is warm and earthy, reminiscent of cozy, fireside nights.

To bring some of that warmth inside for your open house, fill vases with red, orange and deep yellow flowers like marigolds, Mexican sunflowers or strawflowers. Place vases in the entryway, in the master bedroom and on top of mantles to add color throughout the house.

To make your home feel cozy and inviting, invest in throw blankets or pillows in the same shades as your floral arrangements. Place the pieces around your living room and bedroom to draw out the fall colors.

Add dried decorations, like dried wheat or dried cornstalks, to fill in empty wall spaces with that fall feeling.

Use Favorite Fall Foods

The pleasant scent of fresh-baked cookies or a warm apple pie wafting through the house can trigger memories of comfort and home.

To tie in with the season—and the much-beloved holiday foods—light some candles scented with apple spice, pumpkin spice, cinnamon, cranberries or ginger spice.

Add warmth and a touch of the holidays to your kitchen or dining room by creating a cornucopia centerpiece on your table or countertop. Fill the centerpiece with gourds, miniature pumpkins and maize to help potential buyers picture themselves cooking their first Thanksgiving dinner in their new home.

Don’t Overwhelm

While adding a bit of color and warmth will help buyers picture holidays ahead, keep your decorations clean and minimal.

Avoid overpowering a room with too many flowers and candles, and always remember keep personal items tucked away.

Even if the piece is holiday or fall themed, buyers like to picture their own decorations in a home.

Finding a House in a Seller’s Market

September 24, 2013 |  Article By :   | 

10299711_sRight now homes for sale inventory is quite low and buyers are having a hard time finding homes to look at and buy. If there is a great home on the market it sells very quickly. This shortage of homes and abundance of buyers has created a bit of a seller’s market. What strategies can you use to help get a home in a seller’s market?

  • Be alert – check new listings as soon as you receive them and look at homes that fit your criteria as soon as possible.
  • Be ready – be mentally and physically ready to make an offer the first time you see a home. Time is your enemy. If you sleep on it, it could cost you the house.
  • Be flexible – Can you be a bit flexible with your criteria? Rather than four bedrooms, will three work, if the house is perfect except for an older kitchen, can you renovate it after you move in? Now is not the time to be extremely picky.
  • Be patient – you may find the right home today or four weeks from today, but don’t despair, be patient and you will find a home.
  • Be persistent – it is normal right now to lose several homes in multiple offer situations. Don’t despair, learn from each situation and develop a better plan for the next time.

Buyers are finding homes they want to buy and they are buying them, but you need to keep the above strategies in mind.

Simple Energy Savers

January 25, 2013 |  Article By :   | 

dollarWho doesn’t want to hear about simple energy savers that not only help the environment but save you money as well?

These 8 tips can save you energy and money.

  1. Turn off your ice maker and use ice cube trays – this can save you 14-20% on your fridge’s energy consumption!
  2. Use your dishwasher – the dishwasher uses about 1/3 less water than hand washing and you don’t have to do the dishes!
  3. Turn off that burner – turn the burner off before you finish cooking as it does not cool off immediately and you can use that heat to finish cooking!
  4. Buy an LCD TV – if you are buying a flat screen, LCD is the biggest energy saver!
  5. Use a laptop – a laptop computer uses about 1/3 less energy than a desktop computer!
  6. Add motion sensors – install motion sensors where room lights are often left on, they will turn lights on and off as necessary and save you energy!
  7. Put your lamps in the corners – lamps in the corners reflect their light off adjoining walls creating more light so you can use a lower wattage bulb!
  8. Blanket your water heater – a fiberglass insulation blanket around your water heater can save 4-9% on your average water heating bill.