Ellen McLaughlin - Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage



Posted by Ellen McLaughlin on 1/31/2016

Buying a house can be one of the most exciting moments of anyone’s life. You have just moved in and now you have a whole new set of tasks. Making your house a home can be a huge job. Here are some tips on how to get your house feeling like a home in no time without breaking the bank.   Space out your purchases Many first-time home buyers are coming into home-ownership without all the things they need to fill their new home. Many new homeowners feel the pressure to buy everything at once. It is important to focus on the most necessary items first. According to a study from the National Association of Home Builders, furnishings represent a substantial investment, with home buyers spending about $5,300 on furnishings during the first year after buying a home. Space out your home furnishing purchases and focus on the most necessary pieces first, such as a bed, living room sofa and dining room table. Windows can also present a problem for new homeowners. Don’t feel pressured to choose window treatments for every window all at once. Make a priority list starting with the areas where privacy is a must and go from there. You will also need to prioritize appliances. You may want to rush out and buy that huge flat screen TV but consider what other appliances need to take priority, such as a refrigerator, stove, or washer/dryer. New Responsibilities A new home comes with new responsibilities. This may be the first time you have to take care of a yard. Don't go crazy, invest in a few key garden tools, such as hedge trimmers, a sprinkler, and a lawn mower. No need to invest big money in expensive landscaping services at first. Just focus on keeping your yard uncluttered and neat. Another new responsibility is home maintenance. There is no landlord to call when an issue arises. You will want to make sure you are equipped to handle minor issues on your own. Many home improvement stores have tool sets you can purchase, but make sure it includes a hammer, screw drivers, pliers, wrenches, a tape measure and a staple gun.




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Ellen McLaughlin on 3/8/2015

The temperature is dropping and the heating bills are going up. Some quick and easy tips will have you saving money this winter on home heating bills. 1. Set your thermostat back. For every degree you set your thermostat back over eight hours, you’ll save about 1 percent on your heating bill each year. 2. Use a space heater. If you spend most of your time in one area of your home it is less expensive to use a space heater than turn up the heat in your entire home. 3. Open blinds during the day to let sun in. At dusk, close them to trap heat. 4. Inspect weather stripping around exterior doors. Replace old, cracked, or missing stripping. 5. If heat is escaping at your doors, attach a sweep to the bottom of the doors. Sweeps are flexible plastic strips that are easily screwed to door bottoms, and keep cold air out from below. 6. Fill gaps around windows with interior and exterior caulking. If cold air is coming in around the sashes, install appropriate weather stripping.





Posted by Ellen McLaughlin on 12/14/2014

In today's economic climate protecting your financial health is more important than ever. From health insurance to your plans for retirement, there’s a lot to consider. Here are some tips from Family Wealth Management Group, LLC to help protect your assets and financial future. It is never too early to plan In order to plan, you need to know what you have. Review your pension plan, 401 (k), IRAs, Social Security benefits and other savings plans to assess whether they meet your long-term retirement goals and will generate an income stream to meet your projected expenses. Curb spending Time to take an inventory on how much you spend. Keep a log on trips to the market, afternoon lattes, dry cleaning and all of your miscellaneous spending. Try to eliminate a portion of these expenses. Once you track them you will realize you are spending more than you thought. Re-define your financial goals Ask yourself where you see yourself in five, 10 or 15 years. See if it is possible to redefine your goals. You may be able to retire earlier or pay for college. Set goals to achieve the things you want. Get help Professional advice about investment losses, financial products, insurance coverage and other important issues will help you make the right choices for your current financial situation.




Categories: Money Saving Tips  


Posted by Ellen McLaughlin on 8/17/2014

Owning your own house or apartment is a gratifying experience, as you not only have a place you can call home, but you also have the freedom to live the way you choose once you enter your domain. However, to find a home that can truly make you happy, there are a few points that you should consider beforehand. The first point to think about is the neighborhood (where your home will be located). This is important, because you need to feel that the area you are living in will be safe from crime, and that it will also be easy to commute to work on a daily basis. In the end, you do not want to spend too much time traveling in the evenings or in the mornings, as this can only make life more difficult. The next point to think about is how much space you want, as well as how many responsibilities you are willing to put up with. In other words, you could either choose to find a home that has a huge garden and a swimming pool, which is perfect if you enjoy gardening and going out for a swim, or, you could decide to do away with these extra bells and whistles if you hate gardening and do not want to spend time cleaning the pool. In other words, you want a home that you can truly feel comfortable living in, as this in turn will ensure that you can keep your life as stress free as possible. Price is always important, and you want to make sure you look for a home that you can afford. There are a lot of other expenses you have to think about, cable TV, insurance, taxes, telephone, heat, electric, maintenance etc. So make sure you factor all of these into your monthly budget. You do not want to be house poor and buying a home that you may fall in love with can in the end be very stressful if you are struggling to pay for it every month. Look for a home at a good value and that may need some cosmetic fix ups and grow into the home with home improvements down the road. This will bring value to your home and in turn be a good invest when you go to sell the home.





Posted by Ellen McLaughlin on 10/7/2012

If you are looking for ways save money, cutting back on grocery expenses is often an easy way to reduce your spending. Here are ten tips to master frugal grocery shopping. A little planning can save you some big bucks over the long term. 1. Make a list. Before you head out to the store, prepare a list of everything you need, making sure you have everything needed for your weekly menu. Before you leave, check to make sure you don't have it in your pantry, fridge or freezer. Stick to that list and don't buy anything else. 2. Plan a menu. Plan a weekly menu for each week. This way you will know exactly what to buy. Be sure to plan a leftovers night. 3. Don't shop hungry. When you're hungry, everything looks good. When you shop hungry you'll end up spending a lot more. Eat first and then you will be able to stick to your list. 4. Set a budget. When you go to the store, know exactly how much you can spend. Then try your best to stick within that limit. Keep a running tally as you shop to ensure that you're within your budget. 5. Create a grocery spreadsheet. Keep your grocery receipts, then enter into a spreadsheet. This will be your price and comparison list. Use it so you know when bulk or sale items are a good deal. 6. Cook and freeze. Plan to cook a big amount of food and freeze it for multiple dinners. A great idea is to use one Sunday and cook a week's (or even a month's) worth of dinners. Plan 5-6 freezable dinners and cook them all at once. 7. Shop for specials. Every store has specials. Be sure to look for them in the newspaper, or when you get to the store. Don't buy things you don't use just because they are on sale; make sure you will use the items. 8. Buy store brands. Brand names are often no better than generic, and you're paying for all the advertising they do to have a brand name. Give the store brand a try, and often you won't notice a difference. 9. No "one-item" trips. They waste gas, and almost inevitably, you buy more than that one item. If you plan ahead, make a weekly menu, and shop with a list, this should drastically reduce the number of trips you make for a small number of items. 10. Stock up. Sale items can be a great deal. If it's an item you normally use, buy a bunch of them.