Archive January 2016

Home Work

According to a recent study by Telework Research Network, 30 million people work from home at least once a week, and that number is expected to grow by 63 percent over the next five years. While dedicating an entire room for a home office is ideal, it’s not always practical. With smaller laptops and office furnishings and Wi-Fi connections, work areas can be set up anywhere in the home. Before setting up a workspace at home, here are a few ideas to consider.

Reliable power. Many older homes may not have sufficient power or may lack grounded outlets. An electrician can do a wiring inspection and upgrade outlets and circuits as needed. A strong Internet connection is also important. Make sure your DSL or cable modem is functioning well and can handle a demanding workload.

Adequate storage. Storage solutions don’t have to be fancy or expensive, but they do need to be tailored to hold everything you need, including reference books, office supplies and files.

Sufficient lighting. Tasks like reading or drafting require lighting that shines directly on the work. For task lighting, use energy-efficient, long-lasting LEDs and a dimmer switch to control levels.

Work surface. The type of work you do will determine the size of work surface you need. A longer, wider area is better for spreading out papers, while a smaller desk may work best for reading documents and making phone calls. If you use a printer every day, place it within easy reach.

Seating. If you sit for long periods, invest in an ergonomic chair. Though it may cost more, it can provide better comfort and support for your back.

CRS Your Home Newsletter, January/February 2016

Common Scents

There is a strong connection between smells and human emotions. Given that homebuying can be a very emotional process, you’ll want to make sure home looks and smells good to appeal to more buyers. Make sure your home passes the smell test by following these tips from HGTV.
If there are any foul odors in your home, don’t just cover them up by baking cookies — try to identify the source and focus on eliminating the odors. Old carpets are often the biggest culprit. If you don’t have the time or budget to replace old rugs with new carpet or hardwood floors, wash the carpet with mild detergent soap and water solution, then go over it with a damp towel to neutralize the odor. And open the windows on opposite walls to circulate fresh air.
After you’ve rid your home of bad scents or if you just want to fill it with more pleasant smells, consider boiling fruit peels, spices or herbs in water. Rather than throwing away lemon or orange peels, boil water and let the peels sit for a few minutes, adding water every half hour or so. You can also mix the peels with other soothing scents. Using oils such as sandalwood, lavender, tea tree and eucalyptus can be therapeutic and inviting.

CRS Your Home Newsletter – March, 2013

Holiday Home Selling Tips

Were you considering putting your house on the market but waited until after the holidays because you weren’t sure how to handle decorating and winter landscape?  Here are some helpful tips to help you prepare for the next holiday season if you are  considering selling.

There are a few advantages to selling your home during the holidays. Buyers shopping for homes this time of year tend to be more serious, and because fewer homes may be on the market, there’s less competition. Frontdoor.com offers several tips to attract buyers during this busy season.

Don’t go overboard on holiday decorations. Large decorations can make your home seem smaller and they can distract buyers. If you choose to decorate, opt for fewer and smaller items with a general winter theme.

Hire a reliable real estate agent. Ask family and friends to recommend a Certified Residential Specialist (CRS) agent who will work hard for you during the holiday season.

Seek motivated buyers. Individuals shopping for a home during the holidays must be highly motivated. Target buyers who need to move soon, such as people relocating for jobs, college students and university staff on break, and investors on tax deadlines.

Price the property to sell. No matter what time of year it is, a home that’s priced appropriately for the market will attract buyers.

Pay attention to curb appeal. Maintaining your home’s exterior is just as important in the winter as it is during any other season. Touch up the paint, clean the gutters and spruce up the yard. Also keep buyers’ safety in mind by keeping stairs and walkways clear of snow, ice and leaves.

Make your home cozy and inviting. When showing your home, crank up the heat, play soft music and offer homemade holiday treats. It will encourage buyers to spend more time in the home, which gives them a chance to admire its best features.

CRS Your Home Newsletter, December 2013

The Tipping Point

Did you question how much to tip this holiday season?  There are no hard and fast rules on holiday tipping, experts say. How much to tip, or whether to tip at all, depends on several factors, including the quality and frequency of service, the relationship you have with the provider, how long they have worked for you, where you live (since amounts can be higher in large cities), and your budget.

The Emily Post Institute offers the following guidelines for holiday tipping, but also advises consumers to let common sense and the holiday spirit be your guide. If financial circumstances limit what you can give, a handwritten note is always appropriate.

Babysitter – One evening’s pay, plus a small gift from your child(ren)

Barber/Hair stylist – Cost of one haircut or a gift

Child’s teacher – Check the school’s policy. If allowed, give a small token gift of appreciation, not cash

Day care providers – $25 to $70 for each staff member, plus a small gift from your child for providers who 
give direct care to your child(ren)

Dog walker – One week’s pay or a gift

Pet groomer – Cost of one session or a gift

Personal fitness trainer – Up to the cost of one session

Housekeeper/maid service – Up to one week’s pay or a gift

Doorman – $15 to $80

Garage attendant – $10 to $30

Massage therapist – Up to the cost of one session or a gift

Handyman service – $15 to $40

Yard/garden worker – $20 to $50 per worker

CRS Your Home Newsletter, December 2012