Ellen McLaughlin - Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage



Posted by Ellen McLaughlin on 6/23/2019

Moving from one home to another home is a task that is draining, time-consuming and hectic. When deciding to relocate, there are a lot of factors to consider before the actual move. Having to pack up your things in preparation for the move can take weeks and sometimes months. 

After going through the pain of packing and then moving, you would be sad to realize some of your precious heirlooms or antiques got broken during the moving process. There are specific ways to pack to avoid damages to fragile items, and these tips will ensure that your valuables are intact upon arrival at your new home. 

To ensure your valuable items are safe and secure during and after packing, consider using these packing methods. 

Use Various Box Sizes

Having boxes of similar size won't do the job. Some items are safer in smaller boxes to avoid movement and jiggling. Purchase box sizes ranging from shoe size-small to big sizes (depending on the size of your largest piece). When filling in the boxes, heavier items should be placed in shallower boxes while lighter items placed on top bigger boxes.

Don’t Over-stuff

When packing, try not to over-stuff a box hoping additional tape will keep it secure. When packing fragile items, the trick is to have a pack that's firm and snugly packed to avoid jiggling. When you over-stuff a box, the pressure within the box is enough to break some valuables during movement. Be generous with packs especially for items you tag fragile. 

Stuff Soft Items Beneath Boxes

When packing fragile items, make sure you tape the bottom of the box to ensure things do not fall out from beneath. You should also use soft materials like towels or packing paper to layer the bottom of the box. Doing this provides padding for your valuables and helps reduce the force of impact during movement. 

Stuff Hollowed Items With Crumpled Paper

Things you consider fragile should be wrapped separately and secured with tape. Delicate items like wine glasses are more secured wrapped with extra papers and snugly packed to avoid jiggling. Stuff items like goblets and vases with crumpled packing paper to eliminate space before wrapping them individually and placing in a box layered with towels or bubble wrap.

Mark Your Boxes

Ensuring everyone involved in the moving process knows which box contains fragile item is to mark each box boldly with the word ‘FRAGILE.’ Mark everywhere around the pack (on the top, bottom, and sides). Also, remember to label boxes based on the contents within. 

These few tips above would guarantee the safe movement of fragile items from your old home to your new. It would save you the cost of having to replace damaged or broken glassware and the heartache of losing a precious heirloom.




Categories: Real estate   Moving Tips   packing  


Posted by Ellen McLaughlin on 6/16/2019

When choosing grass for cool-season zones, check out these types for the best results in your yard.

Bentgrass — Commonly used in cold weather areas Bentgrass grows easily creeping over every area of your lawn. Liked for its quick growth and ability to withstand high traffic areas, this grass is typically used for golf courses and has become a variety of choice for homeowners as well. Bentgrass likes full sun and is not very tolerant to shade. Soil that drains well and frequent watering will keep this grass beautiful. Plant in late summer or early fall for best results. 

Kentucky Bluegrass — Bluegrass comes in a few different varieties and is found all over North America. Most common is Kentucky Bluegrass. Kentucky Bluegrass does not grow quickly, but it doesn't die out quickly either. You might, however, see some patchy areas in your lawn as this grass does recede from insect damage. It can handle high traffic and is best maintained with full sun and regular watering. This grass can be planted in fall or spring and should receive high amounts of fertilizer. 

Perennial Ryegrass — Perennial Ryegrass is a fantastic option for high traffic areas in cooler climates. It is incredibly tolerant of pests, disease, and stressors. Ryegrass can handle some shade and only requires moderate maintenance and grows best in cool-season climates because it does not handle drought-like conditions at all. This variety can grow on its own or combined with other species. It is common to see Ryegrass planted with Kentucky Bluegrass. Plant in early spring or early fall, with well-draining soil and water regularly.

Fescue — Fescue varieties do well in cool-season climates but are also very tolerant of drought conditions and heat. This grass is an ideal choice for homes in the transition zone. Fescue likes the sun but can grow well in high shade areas as well, and it doesn't need much fertilizer—just regular watering. Though this grass grows well in many climates, it is not a very tough grass and cannot handle a lot of traffic. Most often Fescue is planted with a mix of other hearty grasses to bolster its ability to handle more usage. Plant fine Fescue in fall or spring, but plant Tall Fescue in early spring, just after winter. 

It's time to take what you've learned about the climate you live in and the grass varieties available to you and determine which grass to install. Part four of this series reviews what you should take into consideration your lifestyle and property before purchasing new sod.




Tags: grass   sod   yard improvements  
Categories: Yard Improvements   grass   Lawn Care  


Posted by Ellen McLaughlin on 6/9/2019

The last thing you want at the house is a mold problem. Because they are allergens, molds can trigger rash responses in homeowners. It is impossible to permanently terminate mold spores because they are initially floating in the air. They only grow into colonies when they find a spot suitable for them.

Mold is a fungal growth that develops on wet materials or in a damp atmosphere. Though they are essential in nature, they can pose serious health risks and deteriorate your home if they grow indoors.

If your home develops mold problems, it can be tricky and expensive to control. Trying to get rid of the mold may even lead to its spread to other parts of your home without careful mitigation. Mold remediators are the only professionals to help you with this, but why wait for it to get out of hand when you can prevent it?

Since you can't permanently displace the airborne spores, and you certainly want to save money, mold prevention should be your next line of thought.

Here are the best ways to prevent mold infestation in your home:

Get a regular roof inspection

Molds arise as a result of excessive moisture from leaks and cracks. The roof is a critical component of the house often overlooked until there is a significant reason to attend to it, but this shouldn't be so. Carrying out routine roof inspections will reveal hidden leaks and holes in your roof where water seeps in. You also get to find out if there are parts of your roof that need to be fixed before they become serious issues that may even lead to roof replacement.

Seal off all holes and cracks

Whenever you find any hole or crack that can serve as a passageway for water in your roof, walls or other places water isn't supposed to penetrate, it's important to seal it up. Ensure the cracks are properly caulked, so the water is kept out entirely from causing damages. If you have a leaking faucet in your kitchen, you should get it fixed too because water damages to the wooden parts of the kitchen cabinets can accommodate these messy molds.

Use disinfectants

As you now know, mold spores are ever present in the atmosphere within your home. With suitable fungi disinfectants, you can control them before they get out of hand.

Keep your home's temperature stable

Because molds can only thrive in a moist environment, it is essential to keep your home moderately dry and cool. Make sure the rooms get proper ventilation and the right amount of sunshine because direct sunlight prevents mold growth. If you use a smart thermostat, set your home to be between 68°F and 72°F.





Posted by Ellen McLaughlin on 6/2/2019

Buying a home that works for both seniors and young children can be complicated, if not impossible. When searching for a new home, it’s important to keep in mind the special requirements for every member of your family both now, and as they continue to age.

Parents or other older relatives may need assistance getting upstairs or in and out of a tub. Even if they are fine now, aging is a tricky thing and mobility issues can crop up at any time. Planning for them now can save you money and stress in the future.

At the other end of the spectrum, child-proofing a home is important for small children or new infants, so keep an eye out for sharp edges and remember you’ll have to bring strollers, high-chairs, car seats and more so plan for easy-to-open doors. Don’t forget that as your kids get older, their needs will change as well: plan for privacy and personal space where you can to save on upgrading your home in the future.

For the best home search, make sure to let your real estate agent know who all will be living with you. He or she can assist in finding homes with the features you need and can provide advice about what things are feasible to change yourself, and what will make a house cost more than your budget in the long run.

Some important features to look for include:

  • ?Need help affording a home that meets all your needs? What if you just want to upgrade your existing home? Government agencies offer financial grants and assistance to retrofit your home for the elderly. Check with your agent to see what you might qualify for.
  • Ready to find the forever home for your entire family? We can help! Talk to your agent about the best way to search for your new home.
  • Wide Doorways: A door without a turning requirement (and those that open wider than a right angle) need to be at least 32 inches wide to ensure that wheelchairs and walkers will fit. Right angle doorways or those that require turning to enter or exit should be at least 36 inches wide.
  • Wide Hallways: For comfortable use by strollers, walkers, and wheelchairs, look for hallways that are at least 42 inches wide. That much space gives you the option of installing handrails on one or both sides. Handrails can help both small children learning to walk, and elderly people with mobility issues.

That’s the easy part. The hardest room for both the very young and the elderly is the bathroom. It’s a good idea to ensure that your home has a minimum of 2 full bathrooms to allow you to accommodate the needs of all members of your family. Seniors need ADA toilets (also called comfort height) and grab bars, while your small child would need an extra-tall stool to use the taller toilet. Large showers with floor level entrances, seats and grab bars are best for the elderly, but its often easier to wash your kids in a tub, especially when they’re young. With two bathrooms, you can satisfy the needs of everyone in the family.

Last, but not least, pay attention to faucets, handles, and knobs. Rounded ones can be difficult for both the old and young members of your family. Look for a single handle, lever and touchless options for the best results all around. Don’t forget to test cabinets and drawers for weight or friction pull closers since those are more difficult than soft close or magnetic options. It’s okay if the home doesn’t come pre-fitted with the knobs, handles, etc. you want, a quick trip to your local hardware store will solve it.

Need help affording a home that meets all your needs? What if you just want to upgrade your existing home? Government agencies offer financial grants and assistance to retrofit your home for the elderly. Check with your agent to see what you might qualify for.

Ready to find the forever home for your entire family? Talk to your agent about the best way to search for your new home.




Categories: Family   homebuyers  


Posted by Ellen McLaughlin on 5/26/2019

The homebuying process may prove to be challenging, particularly for individuals who fail to anticipate potential problems. Lucky for you, we're here to help you identify and address homebuying hurdles before they escalate.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to ensure you can seamlessly anticipate and overcome homebuying hurdles.

1. Learn About the Housing Market

The real estate market can be complex. Fortunately, an informed homebuyer should have no trouble resolving potential problems early in the property buying journey.

Examine a wide range of housing market data – you'll be glad you did. Look at the prices of recently sold houses – as well as the prices of available residences – in your preferred cities and towns. With this housing market information, you'll be better equipped than ever before to differentiate a buyer's market from a seller's one and plan your homebuying journey accordingly.

2. Get Home Financing

If you intend to pursue a house, you likely will need a mortgage. Thankfully, banks and credit unions are available to help you obtain a mortgage in no time at all.

Ultimately, it helps to get pre-approved for a mortgage. If you enter the housing market with a mortgage in hand, you can narrow your house search to properties that fall within your price range. And as a result, you could speed up the process of finding and buying your dream house.

When you meet with lenders, don't hesitate to ask lots of questions, either. If you allocate time and resources to learn about all of your home financing options, you can determine exactly which option is right for you.

3. Employ a Real Estate Agent

There is no need to pursue a house on your own, regardless of whether you're an experienced or first-time property buyer. But if you employ a real estate agent, you can work with a homebuying expert who can help you make your homeownership dream come true.

A real estate agent understands what it takes to find a great house at an affordable price. He or she can teach you about the housing market and help you make informed decisions at each stage of the property buying journey. Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent can prepare you for potential homebuying hurdles and ensure you can quickly address these issues.

Let's not forget about the assistance that a real estate agent provides as the homebuying journey progresses as well. A real estate agent will set up home showings, help you weigh the pros and cons of different houses and ensure you can submit an offer to purchase your dream residence. And as you approach the date of your home closing, a real estate agent will offer tips and recommendations to ensure you can finalize your house purchase without delay.

Want to avoid homebuying hurdles? You're not alone. But with the aforementioned tips, you can identify and overcome various homebuying hurdles and effortlessly navigate the property buying journey.




Categories: Buying a Home   buying tips