Tips for Lowering Your Energy Expenditure

cutting energy costs2If you are seeking out tips for lowering your energy expenditure, check out these five things Gentec Services recommends to help you save money!  View the article in its entirety by clicking here.

  1. Clean or change your filters regularly:  Heating and cooling systems can contribute to over 50% of your energy costs.  Ensuring the filters are clean will help keep air flow sufficient whereas a dirty filter will slow it down, causing the system to work harder and cost you more money!
  2. Save on water bills with low-flow faucets and showerheads:  Replacing old water fixtures with low-flow faucets and showerheads can help you conserve your water usage and thus save you money.
  3. Reduce your water heater temperature:  Reducing the temperature to 130 degrees Fahrenheit, or wrapping your water storage tank in an insulated thermal blanket (to help retain the heat) are both good ways to save money.
  4. Use a programmable thermostat:  Using a programmable thermostat can save you up to 10% on your heating and cooling costs.
  5. Install a security alarm system:  Some alarm systems, when set, can trigger lights to turn off.  Using timers, sensors, etc to turn off lights and electronics you’re not using can help save on your power costs.

We hope you found these tips for lowering your energy expenditure helpful.  For additional homeowner tips, please be sure to visit my website at www.NJRealEstateDirect.com.  If you’re not yet a homeowner, but are considering taking that step into home ownership, please contact us!  We’d love to help you determine if now is the right time for you.  You can reach us by phone at 973-637-0004 or via email at Shannon@ShannonAronson.com.  Click here to search homes for sale.

Great Spring Patio Decorating Ideas

With the nicer weather, many people enjoy spending more time outdoors on their patios. Below find 11 great Spring patio decorating ideas from HGTV.com.  To see photos of all the ideas mentioned below, visit the HGTV.com website.

Great Spring Patio Decorating Ideas

  1. Use indoor accessories-Don’t be afraid to bring your favorite throw pillows and blankets out to your patio.
  2. Choose weather-friendly faux finishes-Choosing items, such as tables, made of lightweight metal, will help the items hold up against the outdoor elements.
  3. Paint dated brick-If your brick is looking worn, painting it with a high-quality paint can give it a fresh, new look.
  4. Ground the space-Consider using a rug to define your outdoor space.
  5. Add privacy and shade-Use outdoor curtains to provide both a shady retreat as well as privacy.
  6. Create a focal point-A patio wall or fence can provide you with a blank canvas to create an eye-catching design.
  7. Give old furniture new life-An old dresser or console, given a new look with outdoor paint, can offer you a great spot to mix up some drinks or plant your spring flowers.
  8. Add ambience lighting-Programmable battery-operated LED candles provide a nice ambience to your outdoor space.
  9. Go vertical with greenery-Faux or real greenery climbing up an outdoor wall soften the space and adds a living element to your décor.
  10. Mix in mix-and-match planters-Including planters is various colors, shapes, and sizes, but following one general style, is a fun way to add interest.  Grouping in odd numbers provides a pleasing look.
  11. Go with a bold palette-Using bold colors in various shades provide a nice layered look to your outdoor space.

These are all great ways to spruce up your outdoor space this Spring.  Thinking of buying or selling this Spring?  Contact usClick here to search homes for sale.  Curious what your home is worth?  Click here.  For great real estate information, including insider tips, please visit my website at www.NJRealEstateDirect.com.

Spring Lawn Care Tips

seeding a lawn

Everyone wants a great looking yard all year long! Follow these Spring lawn care tips from HGTV.com and you are sure to get just that!

  1. Dethatch with a Rake-Clean away dead grass to discourage pests and disease.  A thin layer of thatch is ok, but anything more than 1/2 inch will smother your lawn.
  2. Test the Ph Level of Your Soil-The ideal balance level is between 5 and 7 depending on the grass type.
  3. Aerate Your Lawn-Aerating your lawn loosens the soil allowing roots to grow and water and nutrients to be better absorbed.
  4. Weed and Feed-Late Spring is the best time to weed and feed, but don’t treat your entire lawn if you don’t need to.  Too many chemicals can stress the plant’s roots.
  5. Deal with Bare Spots-To get rid of bare spots, flush the area with water, rake out dead grass, level the area with sand or soil, and then reseed.
  6. Seed the Lawn-Early Spring is a good time for seeding.
  7. Know Your Varieties-Knowing what type of sunlight you get, how committed you are to taking care of your lawn, and the types of temperatures you have in your area all contribute to the knowing the best seed type for you.
  8. Water it Well-All grass needs water.  A sprinkler on a timer does the trick!
  9. Maintain Your Mower-Fresh gas, fresh spark plugs and sharp blades are a must for your mower.
  10. Avoid Short Cuts-Cutting your grass too short is not good for it.  HGTV says a good rule of thumb is not to cut more than the top third of the blade off the grass.
  11. Mow in Varied Directions-”By mowing in varied directions you ensure a more uniform cut, an upright growth pattern and reduce soil compaction.”
  12. Leave the Clippings-If you follow the rule of only cutting 1/3′s worth of the blade, then leaving the clippings is a great natural mulch for your yard.

Spring is a great time to take care of your yard, and it is also a great time to sell! If you are thinking of selling, contact us! We’d love to meet with you. You can reach us by phone at 973-637-0004 or via email at Shannon@ShannonAronson.com. For more great real estate information, please be sure to visit my website at www.NJRealEstateDirect.com.

Boost Your Curb Appeal with a Can of Paint

curb appeal

With the Spring Market in full swing, now is the time to think about your home’s curb appeal. Below you will find some great tips from HouseLogic regarding  ways to boost your curb appeal with a can of paint.  For images of the great ideas below, be sure to visit the HouseLogic website.

  1. Turn Your Front Door into a Work of Art-Create a focal point by creating a great design on your front door.  If you are neither artistic nor creative, you can buy stencils from various websites online.
  2. Give your Porch Swing a Pop of Color-Your front porch swing provides you with a fun, unexpected spot to add a burst of color to the entry area of your home.
  3. Create the Illusion of a Carpet on your Steps-To create this fun look, begin by power-washing your steps and sanding off any flaking paint.  Then, using concrete paint and painter’s tape to create stripes, create your very own front stairs “carpet”.  To have the cleanest lines, be sure to remove the tape while the paint is still wet.  In addition, “don’t let the tape sit too long in the sun or you’ll have gummy stripes left behind.”
  4. Paint Your Porch Light-Paint your light fixture with a metallic, copper paint to give your old light a new look.  Modern Masters is a “high-end brand that specializes in quality metallic paint.”
  5. Jazz up your House Number-Use fun accent colors and make sure to place your house numbers in an optimal spot where everyone can see them.  Other great ideas include painting  your mailbox, doorknobs, handles, and hand railings.
  6. Stencil your Concrete Front Porch-First paint your porch a solid color and then use stencils to paint a fun pattern.  A good idea is to use painter’s tape and a tape measure to keep your stencils properly aligned.
  7. Decorate your Shutters-”“A fresh coat of paint on faded shutters can be just the thing to brighten up the entire exterior of a house.”  In the right neighborhood, it can also be fun to paint whimsical designs on your shutters.
  8. Go Bold with Accent Colors-If your front door is mostly glass, a fun idea is to add a punch of color by painting the frame around the glass with a bold accent color.  The same thing can be done with your window frames.
  9. Paint your Garage Door-Staining the doors or painting them the same color as the trim on your house will offer you a warm greeting when you pull into your garage each day.

If you are thinking of taking advantage of selling in the Spring market, contact me to find out what your home is worth.  You can reach me by phone at 973-637-0004 or via email at Shannon@ShannonAronson.com.  For great real estate tips, please be sure to visit my website at www.NJRealEstateDirect.com.

 

 

 

 

Remodeling a Kitchen

Remodeling a Kitchen

If you are considering remodeling a kitchen, below find a summary of some tips from House Logic as to what materials are better avoided. To see the article in its entirety, visit HouseLogic.com.

  1. 1.  Plastic Laminate Counters:  While there are many great laminates out there, the ones to stay away from are the entry-level plastics.  They are thin and dull in appearance.  They are easily chipped and will melt if you accidentally place a hot pan on top of them.  If you are renovating on a budget, plastic laminate one level up would work well in your kitchen remodel.  According to Dani Polidor, an interior designer and owner of Suite Artistry, the new technology for laminate counters, “offers scratch resistance, textured surfaces, and patterns that mimic real wood and stone. There are even self-repairing nano-technologies embedded in some laminates”.   He says for a 10 x 20 foot kitchen, this next-level laminate will cost approx. $3000.
  2. Inexpensive Sheet Vinyl Flooring:  Stay away from the lower-priced flooring that is approx. $2.50/sq ft.  This material tends to be thin, and if water leaks from your dishwasher or refrigerator, your flooring may bubble.  Spending approx. $5/sq ft for luxury vinyl tile (LVT) is a good alternative. An advantage is that it comes in tiles which you can grout so they look similar to higher-end stone.
  3. Some Laminated Cabinet Fronts:   Holloway suggests staying away from lower-end thermofoil cabinet fronts. Thermofoil cabinets are actually vinyl.  The vinyl is then heated and molded around fiberboard.   “Cheaper thermofoil has three critical issues:  It’s not heat resistant. If near a dishwasher or oven, it could delaminate; It can warp and yellow with age, revealing its cheapness”.  The “wood” underneath the thermofoil is also poor quality and won’t hold up over time.”  Similar to plastic laminate, improvements have been made with thermofoil.  New designs can be budget-friendly and have a more expensive look, such as wood or high gloss.  Although pricier than the cheaper thermofoil cabinets, the new thermofoil is “much more affordable than custom cabinets, and still satisfies with its rich look and durability.”
  4. High-Gloss Lacquered Cabinets:  Approximately 20 layers of lacquer give cabinets that high-gloss appearance.  If it gets scratched, it can be very expensive to repair.   A better choice is going with a high-end thermofoil as mentioned earlier.  Choosing  high-end thermofoil would cost in the hundreds of dollars range vs. the thousands of dollars that high-gloss would set you back.
  5. Flat Paint:  The problem with flat paint in the kitchen is that it is not very durable.  If you get something on your walls, and you try to get if off, there goes your paint job!  The one place you can get away with flat paint in the kitchen is on the ceiling.  A good alternative for flat paint in the kitchen area is a high-gloss or semi-gloss paint.  You will be able to wipe a surface painted with high-gloss or semi-gloss paint many times before you notice it taking a toll on your paint job.
  6. Trendy Backsplash Materials:  Although it may be tempting to choose something trendy for your backsplash, remember that your tastes are likely to change over time, and following the trends may be more pricey, with materials ranging anywhere from $5-$220 a square foot.  The article suggests a classic subway tile, costing $2-$3/sq ft, or a material that matches your countertop.

If you are thinking of selling, and you want to know what renovations to consider before listing your house on the market, please contact me. I’d love to meet with you and give you some suggestions.  The Spring market will soon be upon us!  If you are curious about current real estate market trends in Millburn Short Hills and the surrounding areas, please click here.  If you are wondering how much your home is worth, click here.  For great real estate information, please be sure to visit my website at www.NJRealEstateDirect.com.

How to Protect Your Home in the Winter

house energy efficiency conceptNow that winter is in full swing, it’s a great time to think about how to protect your home during the cold winter months.  Below please find some great tips from House Logic.

Preparing for a  Blizzard

FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency) suggests the following items you should have on hand to be prepared for blizzard conditions:

 

  • Snow shovels:  FEMA recommends having more than one on hand in the event one breaks.  Also having someone else to help shovel is a great help!
  • Pet-safe deicers:  These can be hard to find when a heavy storm is approaching, so it’s a good idea to stock up early in the season.
  • Having a full propane tank, extra fuel for a generator, or extra firewood is a great idea.  You don’t want to be left in the cold!
  • In the event of a power outage, it is good to have extra warm clothing, pillows, and clean blankets.  If the power is out, you might not be able to do your laundry for a while.
  • Stocking up on food and liquids that don’t require refrigeration is also a great idea.
  • In today’s day of electronics, we can often forget about the days of transistor radios, but having one available, with new batteries as well as extra batteries, can be a great help!

Winterize Your Home

Another thing to think about when asking how to protect your home in the winter is taking the steps necessary to help winterize your home.

  • Keep tree branches trimmed and way from your roof so they don’t cause roof damage.  It might be good to hire a pro to take care of this for you as trimming and removal can be dangerous.
  • Check the exterior materials on your home to make sure they are secure.  Things to check include roof tiles, shutters, and siding.  Moisture, high winds, and ice can rip off roof tile and gutters so checking to make sure they’re secure ahead of time can be a huge help.
  • Clean your gutters to avoid an “ice dam” which occurs when ice melts off the roof and then re-freezes as it drips into a clogged gutter.
  • You don’t want your pipes to burst, so make sure all exposed plumbing pipes are insulated.
  • A great way to improve your energy bills and to keep your home warmer is to seal any air leaks you may find around your home.

If you are looking for your perfect home, please contact me!  I’d love to help you find your dream home.  You can contact me at 973-637-0004 or via email at Shannon@ShannonAronson.com.  If you’re not sure what town is right for you, please contact us for a FREE copy of our town snapshots!  For more great real estate information, or to search homes for sale, please visit my website at www.NJRealEstateDirect.com.

Buying Manhattan Real Estate – A Special Presentation from Shannon Aronson

Are you or someone you know THINKING OF MOVING TO MANHATTAN?


SHANNON ARONSON hosts a special presentation on

BUYING MANHATTAN REAL ESTATE

Purchasing a Home in New York City

with special guest presenter, top NYC agent, Julia Hoagland

February 7 from 7:30pm to 9pm at Common Lot

Join Shannon and Julia for a delightful and informative evening at Millburn’s in-demand new restaurant, Common Lot.

The prospect of moving to New York City is exciting but the process of buying a home there is complex. Make yourself an expert before you get started in your search.  Julia Hoagland is one of the Top Real Estate Agents in NYC.  Join us to learn about the buying process, the values of different neighborhoods, nuances of condos, co-ops and how to get started.

Complimentary appetizers and drinks will be served.

Seating is Limited. RSVP a MUST. Follow this link:

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/buying-manhattan-real-estate-purchasing-a-home-in-new-york-city-tickets-31683080948

 


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