RE/MAX Advantage I



Posted by Mark Consolmagno Michelle Curran Team on 10/9/2019

If you use a teapot, you know that over time, as the water heats and cools, calcium and other deposits from the water build up on the bottom of the kettle and need cleaning out periodically. The same is true of your water heater. Both city water and well water can contain suspended minerals and chemicals like calcium and magnesium. Unless you filter the water through reverse osmosis before it reaches your hot water tank, those chemicals build up inside and leave a heavy crust at the bottom. Even a small amount of sediment reduces your water heater’s effectiveness and ability to keep a stable temperature in your tank.

To ensure that your water heater gives you lovely warm temperatures for years to come, clean out the sediment at least once each year, and more often if your water has heavy hard-water sediment. 

How to drain and clean your water tank

  • Turn off the power supply. If your appliance is electric, just turn off the electricity, but if your appliance is gas, you’ll need to turn off both electricity and gas.
  • Turn off the cold water supply from before where it enters the water tank. If your inlet has a valve, turn it off there, but, in many cases, this means turning it off at the street.
  • Turn on the hot water tap in the nearest sink or tub. This gives a second access point allowing air to flow into the tank as you drain it.
  • Attach a garden hose firmly to the drain spigot and run the end into a bucket or tub if the appliance is in the basement or cellar, or outside into the garden if on the main floor. If your water heater is in the attic, you can run the hose out onto the roof to drain into the gutters provided they don’t have screens on them.
  • Remember that you may have to empty a 5-gallon bucket several times.
  • Carefully turn on the spigot and check your attachment for leaks.
  • Once all the water is drained, open and close the cold-water valve several times to force fresh water through the bottom of the tank to clean out the last of the sediment. Take care as you reopen the valve because the water will run out quickly and surprise you.
  • Finally, when the water runs clear, close the cold-water inlet and the water heater’s drain valve and remove the hose.
  • Open the cold-water valve and allow the tank to fill. Open the hot-water faucets on all sinks and tubs to remove air from the lines.
  • When the faucets stop sputtering air, close them all and restore power. NOTE: do not restore power until the tank is full. Follow your manufacturer’s instructions to light the pilot. If you’re not sure how to light it, contact your gas company for assistance.

Keeping your water heater in tip-top shape ensure its longevity and reduces maintenance costs. If you’re uncertain about completing this task yourself, ask your real estate professional to refer you to plumbing professionals.




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Posted by Mark Consolmagno Michelle Curran Team on 10/2/2019

An open house can be a life-changing event for a homebuyer. If you plan ahead for an open house, you should have no trouble determining whether a residence matches or exceeds your expectations. And if the answer is "Yes," you can proceed quickly to submit a competitive offer to acquire a house.

What does it take to prep for an open house? Here are three open house preparation tips that every homebuyer needs to know.

1. Understand Your Budget

Before you attend an open house, you should find out how much money is at your disposal. Thus, you may want to meet with banks and credit unions to see if you can get pre-approved for a mortgage. That way, you can kick off your home search with a budget in hand.

Although you know that you have only a certain amount of money to spend on a residence, it may be worthwhile to consider attending open houses for residences with initial asking prices that are above your price range. Because in some instances, a home seller may be willing to accept an offer that falls below his or her initial asking price.

2. Create a List of Questions

A home is one of the biggest purchases that a person can make, and as such, it pays to be diligent. If you craft a list of questions before an open house, you can get immediate responses from the showing agent. Then, you can determine the best course of action.

When it comes to an open house, there is no such thing as a "bad" question. As a homebuyer, it is paramount to get as much information as possible about a residence to determine whether a house is right for you. Therefore, if you create a list of questions in advance, you can improve your chances of getting the most out of an open house.

3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent

If you're uncertain about how to approach an open house, you're not alone. Fortunately, real estate agents are available nationwide who are happy to teach you the ins and outs of the real estate market. By doing so, these housing market professionals will make it easy to take an informed approach to any open house, at any time.

A real estate agent will always keep you up to date about new residences as they become available. Also, if you are interested in homes in a particular city or town, a real estate agent will notify you about open houses in this area. And if you need extra help prepping for an open house, a real estate agent is happy to assist you in any way possible.

Let's not forget about the support that a real estate agent provides throughout the homebuying journey, either. A real estate agent will help you submit an offer on a house, negotiate with a seller's agent on your behalf and much more.

Be diligent as you get ready for an open house – use the aforementioned tips, and you can fully prepare for an open house.





Posted by Mark Consolmagno Michelle Curran Team on 9/25/2019

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If living green is a new endeavor for you, reducing your waste output down to zero is an ambitious goal. However, it is a noble one. With some re-thinking and effort, you can make great strides in the quantity of trash you and your household produces. Put in some of these practices and what you add to landfills can be significantly reduced.

Start with one or two of these practices. Get the whole family on board. As you succeed, add in another one or two, and soon, you will have your home running smoothly green-conscious.

Zero waste tips

  • Shop in bulk. Larger packaging often means less packaging, so that giant bag of toilet tissue at the big box store reduces your waste at once. Additionally, most warehouse-type stores do not offer plastic or paper bags. Instead, they recycle the boxes and crates that products come in for customers to use exiting the store. Better still, bringing your reusable bags and containers decreases your waste from shopping even more.
  • When offered bags in traditional grocery, sundry, or clothing stores, say “no.” Carry collapsible sacks in your handbag or pocket to hold the items you buy. If you do take home sacks, be sure to reuse or recycle them.
  • Bring home less stuff. Curb your shopping habit so that you only bring back those items that you genuinely need. Instead, spend more time window shopping and just enjoying the things on the mannequin without taking them home. If shopping is your therapy, redirect your funds to an experience such as a spa treatment or foot massage instead.
  • Make memories, not purchases. When you used to use shopping to bond with your children, instead, find an activity you can do together such as an escape room, time in an arcade, or playing mini golf. Those memories last a lifetime while a new toy or clothing may only last for a season.
  • Instead of baggies, cling wrap, and foil for your leftovers, invest in reusable glass containers with BPA-free lids that seal. You reduce waste, and your food tastes better. Utilizing containers made of freezer-to-oven glass reduces your water waste too since you can store and cook in the same dish.
  • Rent instead of buy. For big-ticket clothing items that you will use or wear only once or twice, take advantage of local and online shops that let you rent formal wear, prom dresses, wedding clothes and other unique occasion items, and even a new wardrobe regularly. Check out sites such as Rent the Runway and Stich Fix or a local store in your area that rents clothing. Like tuxedo rentals, you will save on waste, closet space, and money.
  • Make the thrift stores and charity shops part of your shopping habit. Of course, donating gently used clothing and household items is always a great idea to reduce waste, support a worthy cause, and give someone else the opportunity to buy something they will love at a great price. However, shopping there is good for you too. Take a bag or two to donate and then while away a couple of hours shopping in the same store. Other folks may have donated just the items you need for your household. You save time and money both.

If you are in the market for a home designed for green living, reach out to your real estate agent and inform them of your needs. They may have access to more detailed information about homes coming on the market with green or alternative energy sources and access to other waste reduction options.




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Posted by Mark Consolmagno Michelle Curran Team on 9/18/2019

Home values continue to rise. Many people use their home equity in order to get a bit more financial security. The home equity line of credit can have many different benefits for you. From home improvement projects to a much-needed vacation, you can get the funds that you need for whatever you wish. Turn to your home equity with some careful thought, however. You could end up owing more than your home is worth, which defeats the purpose of tapping into your home equity to begin with. 


Make Your Decision Smart


Your home equity can be a good thing to tap in to if you’re not planning on spending like crazy. Maybe you just want a little extra cash on hand for emergencies. You’ll be prepared for anything unexpected. This could be a smarter decision than just blowing a bunch of money on a vacation, for example. 


Some smart things that you can use your home equity for include:


  • Home renovations
  • Emergency funds
  • College education funds
  • Cash advance


These ideas are investments that can help you to achieve other goals. You should be sure that you’re able to pay the money back. These projects or financial endeavors are much more suited to smart spending than just randomly spending money, buying a car, or other things that will put you in serious debt.


Home Equity Fluctuates


As the market changes, the amount of home equity that you’ll have to tap into does as well. The state of the housing market can actually dictate to you how much money you’ll be able to get. If the market isn’t good, you could end up in the negative financially, so do your research. 


How To Get Your Home Equity


There are a few ways that you can draw from your home’s equity. The first rule that you should understand is that you cannot borrow more than 80% of what your home is worth. Take a full remortgage your home, giving you the full 80% amount that your home is worth in order to take a lump sum. Alternatively, you can take a cash-out refinance where you set the amount of money you’d like to take out of your home’s equity as you refinance the home. You can also take out what’s called a “home equity line of credit,” which allows you to use the amount of your home’s worth as a credit card of sorts. You borrow money as you need it.     


The biggest issue with refinancing is that of planning. It’s important to know why you’re refinancing and what you’re planning on doing with the money. Used wisely, home equity can really be a great financial tool.





Posted by Mark Consolmagno Michelle Curran Team on 9/11/2019

So many great features that make up many clients’ dream homes can actually be a hindrance in selling a home down the road. While certain features in a home may be attractive to you, remember that all buyers are not looking for the same thing. Beware of the following perks and how they can affect your plans to sell a home in the future.


Schools Nearby


While having schools close in the neighborhood is a plus, not everyone sees it that way. A nearby school is fantastic if there are young children in the family, however, if a buyer doesn’t have young children, living near a school could be seen as a hinderance. Not only will there be an excess of foot traffic in the area, but there will be a lot of traffic, in general, each school day as buses and cars head to and from the school. The extra noise factor from the school may also turn off some buyers. 


Being In The Heart Of The City Or Town


Some people love to be in the heart of the action. A bustling neighborhood with tons of shops and restaurants and constant activity can be the life that you or someone you know is looking for. If you buy a home on one of these main stretches, but, it could be a hard sell should you decide to move. These property locations are targeting a specific kind of buyer and it could be hard to find them. Unless you live in a strictly urban area, you may want to think twice about the property location. Not only could it be a hard sell later, but you as an owner may get sick of the constant action very quickly. 


A Swimming Pool


If you live in a place where the weather is always warm and a pool is a requirement, then putting a pool in your home makes sense. In more variable temperature regions, a pool is not always the best idea. Pools require a lot of maintenance and can be a significant investment. Think of how much of the year a pool is actually usable in your area. The biggest issue with swimming pools is that while they are a luxury, they really don’t add value to the home. In some cases, a pool can end up detracting value and interest from a property. 


A Big Yard


While a large backyard can be attractive, not every homeowner wants to care for such a large amount of space. These large yards can take a significant investment of both time and money to maintain. A large yard attracts a certain type of buyer. Not that you can restructure property lines, but know that bigger isn't always better when it comes to a home’s outdoor space.      





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