Ellen McLaughlin - Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage



Posted by Ellen McLaughlin on 11/15/2020


 

Have you ever walked into a room and wondered, "What is that smell?” Perhaps it's the kitchen trash, or maybe a clogged drain or the moldy-smelling washing machine. No matter what might be giving off that foul odor, there are tricks that you can use to bring a halt to it.

Here are simple tricks to seek and remove any awful smells coming from your home.

1. Track it down

When it comes to smells, the sources could be numerous. The first step would be to find out where the stench is coming from, and bring it to an end. Check the places the smell could be emanating from such as your kitchen sink, the trashcan, the bathroom or even an accent rug. It could also be mold or mildew in the crevice of the tub or the lip of the fridge, or an animal carcass in the dryer vent or chimney. Once you have located the source, determine if you'll need to disinfect the area or if you'll simply need to throw away the cause of the smell.


2. Sewer smells

Sewer smells in the basement is one of the worst and concerning smells that could infiltrate your home. Is it a result of trapped water under a floor drain, or perhaps a clogged drain or a cracked sewer line? No matter the cause, it is imperative to find the source of the odor as soon as possible as leaving it unchecked could result in loss of your home's value. As soon as you discover what the problem is, fix it immediately to avoid any potential property value decreases or possible health issues that could arise from any substance residing within the sewage or trapped water.Some circumstances may require the assistance of a professional plumber or cleaner to take care of the issue. Be sure to get the appropriate estimates needed to correct the problem and clean away residue from areas that may have been affected.


3. Carpet and rug odors

Most of the time, homeowners keep looking for the source of that annoying house smell, forgetting to pay attention to the very thing beneath them – the carpet or rug. But often times, a simple cleaning will correct the issue of an over-trafficked carpet or rug. While vacuuming may get rid of the immediate dirt, you may need to delve a little deeper and steam or wash it. You could clean with a mixture of one part white vinegar and three parts water to remove the smell. You may opt to put it in your carpet cleaner and deep clean the rugs or simply spot treat a particular area. Either way, a homemade mixture or store-bought one can do wonders for your home's scent.


4. Food smell

Most of the time, cooking smells can get trapped in your kitchen, especially if you have a diverse menu of heavily spiced produce and proteins. A great way to remove the smell of these dishes from your kitchen and home is to wipe down the cabinets, interior and exterior, to get rid of any food residue or scents that may be trapped on or inside the cabinets. You may also want to consider removing any food waste after enjoying the dishes or if there are any raw components left over once you're done cooking.

Perhaps you may be worried that you might be too accustomed to possible weird smells in your home to know when one creeps up. Ask your real estate agent or staging professional to do a walkthrough of your home and get a second opinion. Once you’ve solved any deterring smell issues, create good scents to entice your buyers. Your agent will know what works best for buyers in your area, from cedar to baking bread.





Posted by Ellen McLaughlin on 9/6/2020

Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

The short answer to our question of the day is...

We all know what we like when we see it. 

New flooring can greatly increase your home's beauty in the eye of the beholder, yet it's impossible to know what kind of flooring will attract your home's next buyer. That said, here are the top selling points of three popular options. 

Kudos for Carpeting

Carpet, especially if your home will be shown in the winter, is a popular way to add a comfortable look and feel to a home. Most often chosen for bedrooms, carpet can also hide a multitude of flaws beautifully and without a big dent in your savings. To spruce up a home for sale quickly, carpeting can be a great choice.

Now, for the possible drawbacks. Carpeting can cause issues for people with chemical sensitivities or allergies. It doesn't last forever, and it usually won't be as stylish in five years as it is when first installed. 

Tip: Going with one flooring choice throughout your main living spaces can produce an expansive, well put-together look.

Hoorahs for Hardwood

Hardwood flooring is a classic choice. Walk into a home with hardwood floor, and you get a sense of elegance, comfort and beauty. Over time, the essential oils of the wood offer a subtly aromatherapeutic and natural appeal. A well-maintained wood floor lasts for decades.

Yes, a lot of moisture can impact its look, and the kids and pets can scratch it. And refinishing is a big job involving chemical abrasion, although fans of the DIY method point out to us that there are wood and laminate refinishing kits on the market for under $100.  

Tip: A great, cost-effective alternative is engineered hardwood. Engineered hardwood comes prefinished, can be easily installed without a subfloor. 

A Toast to Tile

Tile is as practical as it is handsome. Well-chosen tile will last the home's lifetime. The richer the hues, and the narrower the space left for grout to show, the easier tile is to clean.

In kitchens, either tile or laminate styled as tile works well. Expanses of tile are especially desirable in homes and condos throughout Florida and other warm states.

If you have tile, talk it up! Note its ease of cleaning, especially to potential owners with pets.

Tip: You can buy tile or laminate that looks like hardwood and have the hardwood look—without the refinishing needs.

Sellers Can Offer Options

If you're selling, and your flooring could use updating, considering offering to trim a little off your sale price, encouraging potential buyers to install their own choice of new flooring as desired. That offer itself might just make a deal happen.




Categories: home improvement  


Posted by Ellen McLaughlin on 3/1/2020

Image by David Papazian from Shutterstock

Porch lighting is an essential part of a home's curb appeal. It offers much more than help navigating in the dark or a pretty accent for your front door. A brightly lit porch can enhance security and also save you money on your energy bill.

Where will you place it?

The location of your porch light helps you choose the right fixture. When updating an existing light, your choices may be limited if you don’t want to relocate your electricity or create additional patching or painting tasks. If your project is bigger or you are starting from scratch, your options are unlimited. In addition to the traditional placement on either side of the door, porch lights can be hung from above or be installed on posts.

What is the style of your home?

The architecture of your home also dictates the kind of fixture you should choose. If your home does not have any defining characteristics, your style is all you need. Porchlights can be found in several styles and designs with modern, casual and traditional options widely available. Consider a traditional style for a colonial home or a rustic fixture for a log cabin.

What is the size of your entry door?

The size of your porch light should balance with the size of your door. For example, if you have a standard-size door of six-feet eight-inches, it is recommended that your porch light be between 5 and 9 inches wide. A porch light that is 10 to 12 inches wide will balance with an eight-foot door. Choose the same or similar widths when installing multiple fixtures.

What are the features?

Motion sensitive porch lights feature a built-in sensor that turns on the light when a person or pet moves into the range of the sensor. A daylight sensitive light has a timer that automatically turns on the lights at dusk. Most decorative porch lights feature built-in dusk to dawn photoelectric eyes, which means you won't need to think about turning on the porch light. 

If you want a bright porch light, check the wattage recommendations for the fixture you’re considering. Do not exceed the fixture's wattage as this could cause damage. Replace your incandescent bulbs with LED bulbs or outdoor-rated compact fluorescent bulbs.

Installing the right porch light can add charm to your home and significantly boost your curb appeal. If you need guidance or installation assistance, ask your realtor for recommended lighting professionals or contractors to help with your project.




Categories: home improvement  


Posted by Ellen McLaughlin on 1/26/2020

Photo by Jeon Sang-O from Pixabay

Did you know that the terraced retaining walls that were built by the Incas at Machu Picchu date all the way back to the 15th century? There’s a reason that classic landscape design elements like the dry-stacked wall have endured for centuries. Not only do they look great, but they are designed to stand the test of time against harsh weather, earthquakes and centuries of use.  Dry-stacked walls are a good choice for any property and are versatile enough to perfectly fit in with any style. Keep reading to learn more about why we love dry-stacked walls and how you can utilize them in your landscape design.

How Do Dry-Stacked Walls Work?

Essentially, a dry-stacked wall is any outdoor stone wall that has been built without mortar to bind the stones together. This technique is ideal for retaining walls and freestanding accent walls. Not only are these walls incredibly strong thanks to interlocking construction, but they also can stretch and bend with the landscape because they are made without the use of mortar. This flexibility helps the walls to easily go along with the natural movement of the land during changes in temperature—particularly during the warmer months and times of continued frost. Because of this adaptability, dry-stacked walls don’t require a conventional foundation that must be set deep below the frost line.

Affordability

Additional benefits of investing in a dry-stacked stone wall include:

  • Natural Permeability — Water is able to freely pass through the mortar-less joints of a dry-stacked stone wall. This natural permeability helps to alleviate the need to invest in an additional drainage system, saving homeowners from having to divert water away from the wall to relieve pressure.
  • Longevity — Freely stacked stone walls are designed to allow for natural expansion and contraction. Therefore, this type of wall is much less susceptible to normal shifting and cracking that you might find with a traditional retaining wall. Ideally, your dry-stacked stone wall should look attractive and maintain its structural integrity for many years to come once construction is completed.
  • Variety — You can be creative as you’d like when building a dry-stacked wall. Whether you prefer round stones, river rocks or flat stones—there’s a stone material available to suit any design aesthetic. However, keep in mind that different stone materials are known for being easier to work with than others. For example, flat stone is typically the fastest and easiest option, while stones with rounded edges require more careful planning.

In addition to being attractive and versatile, dry-stacked walls can be created from a variety of materials. Typically, building a dry-stacked wall will cost homeowners anywhere from $65 to $100 per square foot, including all materials and labor. However, for those interested in an especially deep dry-stacked wall, the costs can climb. Working with an experienced landscape construction team can help to prevent costs from going outside your budget and allow you to enjoy peace of mind with a durable and long-lasting retaining wall.





Posted by Ellen McLaughlin on 12/1/2019

Image by Breadmaker from Shutterstock

A fireplace is a cozy addition for a home that can add aesthetic value as well as warmth to your space. Whether you’re building new, retrofitting, or shopping for the perfect home there are options for most situations. You’ll find many design options as you start to shop but the initial consideration should be to determine a fuel source.

Wood fireplace

Wood-burning fireplaces offer the crackle of the fire, the fragrance of pitch, and the soft glow of coals. For some, there's nothing better than a perfectly lit wood fire. But along with the cozy flames and the perfect scent come some considerations. 

Potential for smoke: If the flue does not open correctly or if there is a blockage within the chimney, you may find smoke coming into your room instead of out the flue.

Chimney maintenance: The wood you burn and the temperature of your fire determines how clean your chimney stays. At least annually, have your chimney professional swept to remove the buildup of creosote that can cause house fires.

Ashes: You will need a plan for disposing of the ashes once the fire is out.

Natural gas

A fireplace that burns natural gas can either be open or closed. An open hearth appears to be the same as a wood-burning fireplace and requires a chimney. These are called "vented" fireplaces. You can easily convert a wood-burning fireplace to a vented gas fireplace if you have access to a gas line. 

An enclosed gas fireplace is a “ventless” unit. These require more intensive construction but are great to give you the “look” of an open fire without access to the flames. These can either operate on natural gas or propane.

Gel system

A gel fireplace doesn't require specialized installation. Canned gel burns in a special unit that does not need ventilation. Often available in modern, minimalist designs, these fireplaces do not need access to gas lines or electricity. They can be installed anywhere on any wall.

Electric

Outside of the gel unit, the most effortless option to incorporate is an electric fireplace. Rather than flame, they use heated coils to provide warmth and a fan to project the air into the room. They often include flickering lights and simulated flames. Electric fireplaces require no vents and can install anywhere within proximity to an electrical outlet.

No matter which fireplace you select, take care to install it properly and operate it by the manufacturer's instructions. If a fireplace is an important feature to you, make sure your real estate agent knows it's on your "must-have" list.