Posted by Amanda Bruen on 5/23/2017

Buying a house is only the beginning when it comes to spending money on a residence. Buy the wrong house and you could incur heightening costs that you hadnít planned or budgeted for. One of the best ways to avoid stepping into a house financial minefield is to avoid buying a house based solely on emotion.

Start saving on housing costs early

For this reason, a first step to save on housing costs starts during the house hunting process. While you are house hunting pay attention to more than just the square footage, layout and design of a house. Ask to see the furnace, boiler and air conditioning unit, whichever utility type the house operates off of.

If youíre not knowledgeable about appliances, bring someone who is appliance savvy house hunting with you. The same goes for the roof, flooring and walls. The right construction knowledge could prevent you from investing in a house that has termites, roaches or other creepy crawly pests hidden in the walls.

Donít let realtors or housing agencies only show you the model if youíre buying a house thatís in the process of being built. Make sure that you get it in writing that you can stop by and check on the home while itís being built. Bring someone you trust who knows the ins and outs of a home, including the best way to build and wire a house, when you visit the property.

Keeping housing costs down is an ongoing effort

After you buy the right house, develop a schedule that highlights when you will perform certain types of maintenance on your new home. For example, decide whether you will mow the lawn on a Wednesday or a Saturday.

Applying a fresh coat of paint to your house or washing down the siding are other items to add to your house maintenance schedule. De-weeding your lawn, painting the interior of your home, replacing floor tiles as needed and inspecting the insulation and appliances are other maintenance activities.

You also have to clean your gutters and inspect your roof. Again, if you donít know what to look for during a roofing inspection , consider hiring a professional to do this work for you. In addition to performing regular maintenance on your home, practice safety habits.

Make sure that there is a properly functioning fire extinguisher in your house, preferably at least one extinguisher on each floor of your home. Smoke alarms are another must. Avoid floor or space heaters, as these devices can become afire hazard. Also, clean out fireplaces.

Each of these steps helps to maintain and protect your home. Itís also important to buy and keep payments current on your homeownerís insurance. Get enough homeownerís insurance coverage to protect your house from natural events that occur in the area where you live.

For example, if you live in California, you may want to get coverage for mud slide damage.In Florida, you may want coverage for hurricanes and floods. Even if the additional coverage raises your monthly homeownerís insurance premiums, the added protection could be worth it.




Tags: Save Money   house prices  
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Posted by Amanda Bruen on 5/16/2017

This adorable New England Cape Cod home will capture your heart with its wonderfully maintained 3-4 bedroom cape abutting Atkinson Common! Loads of period charm throughout entire home to include original hardwood floors, eat-in kitchen, 1st floor laundry, living or dining room, & spacious family room with wood-burning fireplace & built-in shelves perfect for entertaining. The first floor bedroom could serve as a guest room or in-home office. The second floor offers 3 generous size bedrooms & full bath. Updates to include newer roof, recently painted exterior & much more. Enjoy relaxing nights from your large screened sun porch, deck or patio overlooking an enchanting back yard with gorgeous natural landscaping, garden & perennial flower beds all overlooking private backyard. Full unfinished basement could easily be finished for additional living space if needed. Walking distance to all area schools, restaurants/shops & local hospital. One of Newburyportís most desired streets!

More Info on this Property | New Listing Alerts





Posted by Amanda Bruen on 5/16/2017

Essential oils are catching on as a natural way to spruce up your home. However, many people are unaware of the full array of uses for essential oils in the household.

In this article, weíll cover some of those uses that you may not have heard of, and give you some tips on which essential oils are the best to use.

What are essential oils?

Essential oils are the result of distilling large amounts of herbs, spices, or other plant-based materials. There are dozens of essential oils commercially available and they all emit strong aromas that can be used in multiple ways.

When buying oils, itís important to check the labels to make sure you are buying 100% pure essential oils. Many companies dilute their oils in a carrier oil such as olive oil, coconut oil, or almond oil. While this isnít inherently bad, it does probably mean youíre getting less for your dollar due to being diluted.

Aside from smelling nice, essential oils are often used for aromatherapy and other medicinal uses. However, be aware that they are not intended as a treatment for any medical condition.

Similarly, some oils might cause an allergic reaction in some individuals. So, be careful when spraying them in the air or using them on your skin if you think you might be allergic to a certain oil.

Which oils are best for use around the home?

There are dozens or even hundreds of essential oils that have various scents and uses. However, some are more pleasant and suitable for the home than others.

The main essentials that serve a number of uses around the home are:

  • Lavender

  • Lemon

  • Tea Tree

  • Peppermint

  • Pine

  • Lemongrass

  • Patchouli

  • Bergamot

  • Eucalyptus

  • Tangerine

There are various kits available online that include some or all of the oils listed above, or you can buy them individually from retailers.

Household uses for essential oils

There are many uses for essential oils around the home. They include:

  • Used as an air freshener with an oil diffuser. These diffusers humidify the air while diffusing the oil into the room, resulting in a pleasant aroma.

  • Mixed with water or alcohol to make a fabric spray. You can find several formulas for creating a fabric spray. However, the easiest way to quickly freshen up the sofa or carpet is to mix 10% oil to 90% water or ethanol and put the mixture into a spray bottle.

  • As a natural cleaning product. Lemon, lime, lavender, and peppermint all make great additions to a homemade cleaning solution. Diluted with water and vinegar, many essential oils can be used to freshen up a countertop or scrub a sink.

  • Spruce up your clean laundry/linen. You can put a couple of drops of lavender onto a damp washcloth and put this in your dryer with your clothes to give them a nice fragrance. This works particularly well if you use unscented laundry detergent. However, be sure not to go overboard--essential oils are strong and some can cause skin irritation.

  • Refrigerator deodorant. The best way to get rid of the smell of a refrigerator is to give it a thorough cleaning. But afterward, help keep it smelling clean longer by putting several drops of lemongrass into a small bowl with baking soda. Stir the baking soda on occasion to release the lemongrass fragrance.




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Posted by Amanda Bruen on 5/9/2017

As a homebuyer, you want to prepare as much as possible when you start looking at houses. By doing so, you'll be able to fully evaluate a residence based on your personal wants and needs and ensure you can find your dream house quickly and easily. However, there are many under-the-radar factors that homebuyers must consider when they check out a house, including: 1. Homeowners Association If you're evaluating condos, you should learn about the homeowners association (HOA) that manages the property. This will allow you to review HOA fees, how the HOA operates and other factors that may influence your decision to buy a home. Typically, it is simple to discover all you need to know about an HOA. To do so, you can work with a real estate agent who should be able to provide information about an HOA. Also, you can always contact an HOA directly and receive all the information you need without delay. 2. TV, Cable and Internet Service Providers Do you work from home and require a high-speed internet connection to complete your day-to-day tasks? Or, do you want to ensure you can get your favorite TV channels at all times? Regardless of your individual needs, you'll want to check out the TV, cable and internet service providers available in cities and towns where you'd like to live. This will enable you to find out if these local providers can meet your needs consistently. In addition, you should consider cell phone connectivity in an area, as this will allow you to determine if your cell service provider ensures you can enjoy clear calls in a particular city or town. 3. Attractions and Landmarks Do you enjoy spending a day at the park, checking out historic landmarks or going to concerts? No matter which activities you enjoy, it is essential to learn about the entertainment options near a home you may purchase. For instance, if a concert venue is close to a residence, it may affect nearby traffic patterns as concert-goers travel to and from this destination. Conversely, if you want a house that allows you to separate from the everyday hustle and bustle of the city, you may want to evaluate residences that are located many miles away from popular attractions and landmarks. 4. Walking Paths If you like to stay active, you'll surely want to find a house that features a wide range of safe walking paths that you can use every day. Whether it's going for a morning jog or simply enjoying a jaunt with your dog, you may be able to improve your chances of remaining active and healthy if you purchase a home with multiple walking paths nearby. Of course, a real estate agent can help you explore a vast array of homes in cities and towns nationwide. This professional will learn about your home preferences and allow you to streamline your search for the perfect house as well. Consider the aforementioned factors as you prepare to search for houses, and ultimately, you'll be better equipped to make a more informed home purchase.





Posted by Amanda Bruen on 5/2/2017

In an age of endless distractions, it can be hard to keep ourselves (and our families) accountable when it comes to doing chores and keeping the house clean. However, the digital age has also brought us an endless number of tools to fight the urge of being lazy and†scrolling through our Instagram feeds for hours at a time. In the iPhone app store there are hundreds of productivity apps designed to help you accomplish things throughout the day. The realm of cleaning and chores is no exception. Browsing through those apps, however, can be just as daunting as the chores they're helping us do. So, we've built a list of the top eight most useful iPhone apps for cleaning and chores around the house. (Many of these apps are also available on Android as well.)

1. Chorma

Do you have a full house but it seems like you're the only one doing household chores? Chorma will help you change that. It's designed for family, couples, roommates, and anyone else who is in need of dividing up chores. You'll be able to sync between devices and earn rewards as you complete chores. This incentivizes cleaning (if having a clean house just isn't that big of a deal to you).

2. Tody

I have no problem doing chores. I just always do them days too late. If that sounds like you, then Tody is for you. This app allows you to set the frequency that certain chores need to be completed. There will be small reminders in the app letting you know if and how many days you are overdue for cleaning the toilet. This really adds on the guilt factor if you're the type who needs a bit of extra persuasion to get some cleaning done.

3. †Unfilth Your Habitat

Calling your cleaning tasks "chores" can sometimes make you feel a bit childish when trying to get some cleaning done. Unfilth Your Habitat is definitely not for kids. This is made obvious by the name of the app, which has been censored here to read un"filth" rather than the other "f" word. This app will motivate you with guilt and shame, but will reward you for completing your tasks.

4. †EpicWin

If you like playing video games, specifically role playing games (RPGs), EpicWin is the productivity app for you. The app is an RPG/to-do list where your epic adventures are your chores.

5. BrightNest

BrightNest is the all-inclusive homemaking app. It has cleaning tips, home decor advice, and a personal schedule for helping you spruce up your house.

6. SimplyUs

SimplyUs is the app for busy couples that helps them stay productive together. The app lets you share your calendars (Google, Yahoo, etc.), to do lists, and more.

7. Sortly

If you plan on moving in the near future or if you're a collector of any kind, Sortly will help you catalogue and keep track of your entire home inventory. It helps you print labels for moving boxes, tells you how many boxes you need, and much more.

8. The Fridge App

The Fridge app is an electronic version of the sticky notes you would put in your home for your family. It can sync between your whole family and will give them updates on any new posts or changes that are made.