Archive for January, 2012

January is Organization Month – Perfect Closet Remodel

With January considered by many to be organize yourself month, it is only appropriate that I share this one with you from Lowe’s Inman News from today 1/30/2012.  Minimizing clutter helps us minimize stress.  It also helps those who are considering buying or selling a home to get prepared for that next step. 

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10 tips for a perfect closet remodel

Think new shelving, new supports

By Bill and Kevin  Burnett Inman News®

Q: My husband and I  have a house that was built in the 1950s. One of the little remodeling jobs  that was done by a previous owner was to turn two built-in recessed cabinets  that were on top of each other into a closet.

Unfortunately, he just  cut off the horizontal strip of wood that divided the lower and upper cabinets  and took out the shelf. He then put in five shelves.

For three of the  shelves he used two pieces of wood for support on the left and right side. For  two other shelves, he used two different-size pieces of wood for side supports.  For back support, the same type of wood was used, only it doesn’t reach all the  way across the length of the shelves.

The paint in the  closet is peeling, so we need to repaint. I think this would be a good time to  make everything more uniform. Is just using 1-by-2-inch strips for side support  on all the shelves strong enough? Is using brackets an option?

A: Sounds to us as if the “remuddler” used  whatever wood that was on hand to rig the shelves and supports. We agree it’s a  good time to rebuild the shelves and make everything uniform. Forget the  brackets — they’re unnecessary.

This is a great do-it-yourself project. If we were doing the  job, we’d tackle it like this:

Take out the existing shelves and supports, leaving just a  bare box. You’ll get rid of the mismatched shelving, and you’ll eliminate a  good deal of scraping and sanding. Also, you’ll be using new materials, which  will make the final product a whole lot nicer.

After demolition, you’ll be left with prepping and painting  the inside of the cabinet, and installing new shelving.

Use a paint scraper to remove loose paint, then fill any  voids and level the surface with Spackle. Sand the interior smooth, then prime  and paint. This will be a three-coat job: one coat of primer, sand, then two  finish coats.

The next step is to install wood supports for the shelves.  No need to use brackets. One-by-2s will be plenty for the side and back  supports of shelves up to 32 inches. If we were planning on painting the whole  cabinet, we would use pine or fir rather than a harder wood such as oak or  poplar.

It’s a little easier to work with. Use construction adhesive and screw  these pieces into the studs for a solid installation. It’s a good idea to drill  pilot holes before setting the screws. That way you don’t risk splitting the  wood.

Don’t try to use the old shelving. New shelves are  inexpensive and will save you a lot of time and produce a better job than  trying to scrape, sand and reuse the old ones. The lumberyard or home center  will gladly cut them for you — sometimes for free, sometimes for a nominal  charge.

You have a number of choices for your shelves. They can be  natural wood, then stained or clear-coated. If you don’t want to paint you can  use melamine, a medium-density particleboard with a white factory-applied  finish.

Whatever shelving material you choose, be sure to beef up  the front edge so the shelves won’t sag. Drill pilot holes and use finishing  nails and construction adhesive to affix 1-by-3s to the front edge of the  shelves. This will stiffen the shelves and give them a nice, finished look. The  1-by-3 face trim will also hide the side supports.

If the shelves are painted, or if you use melamine, we  suggest that you use poplar for this reinforcement job. It paints extremely  well and is plenty strong. If natural wood is the choice, your face pieces  should match the shelving material: oak to oak, birch to birch, etc.

Follow these instructions, take your time, and the cob job  you’ve got now will morph into a handsomely finished shelving unit.

Staging and Sellers – Where to Begin

We are very pleased to welcome another guest blogger to our community, Janice Poulin from Perfectly Placed for You.   It is important to remember that you view your home one way and a buyer views your home totally differently as they are trying to picture themselves in it.  That’s where staging and stagers can help you to get the most money for your home:

 

Why is staging important and where do sellers begin?

 

Whether a property is occupied or vacant, staging it will help potential buyers envision a desirable lifestyle. Purchasing a home is an emotional process, and fostering a feel good connection with buyers will significantly increase the odds of a sale.

 

Sellers can sometimes feel overwhelmed by the process of staging. Often, people have accumulated a life time worth of memories in a home, and they aren’t quite sure where to begin.

 

First, try to look at each space and pretend that you are a potential buyer. What is your eye drawn to first? Is it a selling feature?

 

Evaluate each space with these 5 points in mind:

 

1. Consider repairs and key upgrades.

2. Clear away excess belongings, furniture, family photos and personal or religious items

3. Place furniture to establish function and highlight selling features

4. Use color to highlight key areas and to create an overall appealing response

5. Introduce emotional cues to help buyers connect with the property – i.e. possibly an entertaining  vignette on an island or peninsula in an open kitchen

 

Make a list as you move through each space. It may also be easier to work backwards and to imagine that the room is empty. Ask yourself what key pieces are needed to establish function and to create a welcoming feel?

 

No doubt for some, staging will be a sizable investment of time and energy. However, if a picture is worth a thousand words, making the effort to create a positive image online and in person is an investment well worth making.

 

Now take a deep breath and get started!

Janice Poulin   –    Perfectly Placed for You        978-337-3266

PerfectlyPlacedforYou@yahoo.com       jan@perfectlyplacedforyou.com         http://perfectlyplacedforyou.com/Perfectly_Placed_For_You/Perfectly_Placed_For_You_Redesign_%26_Staging.html

 

 

 

How to Care for Hardwood Floors

Hardwood is in – but how do you take care of it is the question, especially during the winter when so much is brought in from the outside.  This is a great article from servicemagic that I thought I would share with you. 

 

http://www.servicemagic.com/article.show.Hardwood-Floor-Care-for-Homeowners.15013.html

Fee Hikes/Mortgage Relief News from Fannie/Freddie

This information is coming from the Mass Assn of Realtors and is great news to unemployed borrowers.  

Fannie Mae will require mortgage servicers to install a new program providing forbearance relief to unemployed borrowers beginning March 1 for up to six months of relief without getting approval from the government-sponsored enterprise. Freddie Mac will begin offering 12-month forbearance plans on Feb. 1.  In addition, FHFA has directed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to increase their guaranty fees effective April 1. NAR opposed the increase in fees to pay for non-housing-related purposes. Lenders who will pass the increase on to borrowers will likely increase the rate offered by .1 percent sometime before April 1, 2012.

Staying Healthy helps you maintain your energy

You might ask what has staying healthy have to do with real estate.  Well when you think about it, buying or selling a home takes lot of energy and stamina.  Staying in shape, eating healthier – gives you the stamina you need to do these and many other things. 

I would like to welcome our new guest bloggest Annette Presseau.  Annette is a Reliv distributor.  If you don’t know what Reliv is, checkout her website at the end of this article and find out for yourself.  In the meantime take some ideas from the article and make them your own.  We want you full of energy and stamina as you prepare to buy or sell. 

How do you start your year healthy?

Was one of your New Year’s resolutions to improve your health and eating habits?  Every year I look to improve my health and eating habits and put that on my New Year’s resolution list.  Do I falter oh yes many times but I keep on trying.  I have left over chocolate bars from Halloween and they keep calling me to just have one bite – just one and then I’m hooked but alas I did read that chocolate was good for you so maybe just one is ok. J  I continue to fight the battle with my health because I like food.   To offset the days when I don’t eat right I cut back on meals and I try to eat things that are healthy and I also take a powered nutritional supplement.

What’s your New Year’s Resolution list look like?  Were you able to do just one thing from your list this January?  This year I’ve added the months (ex: January) with my resolution so I can work toward getting the resolution done.  I’ve heard it said that if you put a date with your list you are more apt to achieve it.  One thing on my list is to lose weight by November 2012 so that I can enjoy the food next holiday season!

What’s on your health list for 2012?

What have you done in the past to improve your health?  Are you tired all the time?  Are you stressed? (Aren’t we all!)  Have you done meditation or Yoga to help?  None of us have the time but at least we think about doing what is good for our health.  There are so many UTube videos online about health to watch.  Even 15 minutes of meditation would help us to relax.

Maybe on your health list is to donate to worthy causes that make people healthy.  If you look at helping stop diseases like Measles in other countries then check out www.lcif.org/donate to help children and vulnerable populations to fight Measles and save lives.

                       

 

Stress and weight loss:

Lately I saw a show on TV talked about stress and how it affects us and that meditation and Yoga are great for relieving stress even adding 15 minutes of exercise two times a day helps to lose weight and relieve stress. There are also plenty of other things that you can do for stress like an art class which can relieve stress. Check out the art class at Colleen Sgroi’s website:  http://www.colleensgroi.com/.  People have told me that Art class is very relaxing and you forget about the stresses of life.  I have taken Colleen Sgroi’s classes and they are very relaxing.

This year I plan to learn how to do Yoga, meditation and exercise or at least add it to my list of resolutions.   My goal is to do one thing a month from my list to get healthy.

And if you’re tired all the time this could be a sign of a severe health issue like high blood pressure so don’t ignore how you are feeling and see a doctor.  January is the month to wind down and regain your strength back from all that stress.  The days are shorter and colder and we do feel drained from the holidays or at least I know I do but I always look for things to do to make me happy or at least feel better.  Definitely, I need more exercise but going to the gym didn’t work out for me I didn’t go most of the time so that is out but I have added to my list fun exercises like skiing, skating, tubing, walking, dancing etc.!

The secret to losing weight is about burning more calories than you eat. That seems simple enough, but if were really that simple, none of us would have a weight problem!  The real secret to weight loss is to make small, lasting changes. The key is to forget about instant results and settle in for the long run.  Check out this website on the basics of weight loss:  http://exercise.about.com/cs/weightloss/a/howtoloseweight.htm.   One of the best exercises on this website is just waking.  I have read that walking 15 minutes twice a day is as good as walking for half an hour but any exercise will help with weight loss.  This website also talks about calculating your BMR (basal metabolic rate) to help with weight loss (very interesting).

Eating habits:

 

Well, what about your eating habits?  A recent Harvard study found that those who ate breakfast regularly were less likely to become obese, compared to those who skipped it. Meal skipping also can slow down your metabolism. Your body needs a certain amount of calories and nutrients each day for normal function. Denying the body these essential elements throws the system into survival mode, slowing metabolism and encouraging the storage of fat.

Instead of cutting calories from your day, meal skipping tends to lead to overeating later. A grumbling stomach can make you lose control by late afternoon, taking over any will power as you dive into that bag of chips or candy bar. Think about eating Yogurt or a handful of almonds or even making up your own healthy snack check out this website for ideas:  http://www.self.com/fooddiet/2010/06/50-healthiest-snacks .  Have you ever noticed that after you eat those unhealthy foods that you don’t feel much better?

Maybe a small glass of red wine at the supper meal would be healthy at least according to the latest news check out this website on red wine:  http://www.ynhh.org/about-us/red_wine.aspx  it sounds like a good thing to start doing.  Also, drinking more water and getting more fiber in your diet besides getting enough sleep are ways to keep healthy and of course the big one – exercising.  For me what I have found is that exercising usually helps to take the weight off but everyone is different as to what works for them.    Drinking water is also a great way to curve hunger if you drink a glass of water ½ hour before you eat it will curve your appetite.

Check out this website on 10 weight loss tips:  http://www.myweightlossezine.com/blog/top-10-weight-loss-foods/  and the Mayo Clinic has a great website on “Weight loss goals:  10 tips for success” check it out: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/weight-loss/WT00018  the site also talks about slow metabolisms and a BMI calculator.  Both these websites have some great ideas!

Soy and cholesterol:

I would like to incorporate more soy products in my meals so that I’m eating healthier.  Did you know that the scientific community acknowledges the heart health benefits of soy, a claim validated in 1999 by the Food and Drug Administration? Studies show that lunasin, a naturally occurring peptide found in soy, is largely responsible for soy’s cholesterol-lowering properties.  Also, adding more fruits and vegetables to your meals helps to eat healthy.  Check out the new food pyramid: http://www.choosemyplate.gov/.

Most people also don’t get enough fiber in their diet fiber has been shown to remove toxins in our body, relive constipation and lowers the risk of hemorrhoids, irritable bowel syndrome and diverticulitis, while it supports growth of “good guy” bacteria in the colon.  In addition, fiber lowers cholesterol levels and blood pressure while reducing inflammation that can lead to heart disease.  Fiber also makes you feel fuller longer so you’re likely to eat less!  Fiber is a good guy! Look to eat foods high in fiber but don’t forget to drink plenty of water to work with the fiber.

January is National Oatmeal Month and Cervical Health Awareness Month:

Did you know that January is National Oatmeal Month?  More oatmeal is consumed in January than any other month. Some breakfast cereals are loaded with sugar.  Have you every checked the ingredients of cereals?  It’s scary what is in some cereals half the stuff I cannot pronounce!  Oatmeal is the one cereal that you can control your sugar intake.  In my opinion sugar is very addictive at least it has been for me and cutting back on sugar is a good thing for your health!

There are 50 new websites on the Internet pertaining to Best Healthcare Blogs:  http://www.mbainhealthcareadministration.com/50-best-healthcare-blogs-you-arent-reading-yet.html.  There is no shortage of information to help us get healthy!

January is also Cervical Health Awareness Month.  The National Cervical Cancer Coalition stresses the importance of screening and prevention during January Cervical Health Awareness Month.  Approximately 11,000 American women will learn they have cervical cancer this year.  Nearly 4,000 women will die from an advanced form of the disease.  For more information on Cervical Health Awareness Month, visit www.nccc-online.org/awareness.html.

That four letter word “DIET”!

I’ve read that yo-yo dieting is not good for the body but most of us have done it including me. Every time I remind myself that I need to diet it seems that I crave food more and gain weight! When I have dieted I will give myself one day a week to eat what I’m graving in food and that helps me to go back on my diet plan for the next week.

A friend of mine dieted by cutting down on most of the foods that he liked he did lose weight but didn’t feel good afterwards because the key in my opinion is to eat a healthy and balance diet so that you feel energized. Eating a balanced diet is one of the keys to success in losing weight. Sometimes a person just needs to cut back on what they eat for instance instead of eating the whole meal at dinner eat a portion of it or instead of the entire desert eat only half of it. Also, frozen foods are loaded with salt and preservatives so cut back on them if possible. This is an interesting website about eating 3 servings of fat free yogurt a day in that it will help you lose weight: http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/news/20050317/yogurt-may-help-burn-fat-promote-weight-loss . I have read that a person should not eat after 8 p.m. in the evening because you will gain weight unless you go to the gym afterwords!

It is always a good idea to keep a record of your weight loss and weight yourself only once a week at the same time and you will see your progress as you lose the weight. Don’t get discouraged if the weight doesn’t come off quickly it is better for the weight to come off slowly that way the weight is more apt to stay off.

Check out this ezine website on 100 effective, healthy and harmless weight loss tips that help with weight loss: http://www.myweightlossezine.com/ Very interesting!

Keep in mind a diet that works for one person might not work for another and use your judgment when starting a diet plan. Crash diets might work for awhile but play havoc on your body.

Maintaining a healthy weight:

Maintaining weight loss can be as much of a challenge as losing the weight in the first place. In fact, one weight loss study showed that 80 percent of participants who lost weight gained it back within five years. Your weight loss problem — it could be in your brain. Experts say weight loss is as much a psychological battle as it is a physical one.  I know that every time I think of the word “diet” I want to eat more so I look at food differently in that I’ll look at that donut and think “how long will it take for me to burn the calories off?” and usually that stops me from eating it!  You will be amazed at how much you can lose in weight just by changing your thought process.

Most people lose weight quickly then the weight loss slows down and they get discouraged and stop but they forget that losing weight is a lifelong battle and you need to be committed to doing it all the time.  A few of my friends have done Weight Watchers and have lost a lot of weight but then they went off the plan and gained all the weight back and more then they went back to Weight Watchers again to get the weight off.

A Yale School of Nursing study interviewed 18 women who had maintained weight loss for an average of seven years. The most common factor among them was participation in a formal weight loss program. A formal weight loss plan might involve keeping track of your food intake, exercise recommendations or meetings with other dieters.

To food journal or not that is the question:

If you’re not recording your food intake, it’s easy to fall into denial about how many calories you’ve actually consumed. A study by the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research showed dieters who kept a food journal lost twice as much weight as those who didn’t. The study included 1,700 overweight or obese participants from around the U.S. The key to the diarists’ success was being able to visualize how much they were eating and identify problem patterns.

Do you have any new health goals for January, in keeping with New Year’s resolutions?  How do you plan to improve your health this month or this year?  I encourage you to assess your current health.  It’s a great opportunity to adjust your habits to improve your life.   What do you need to add or remove from your diet?  What do you need to start doing this year for exercise?  What has worked for you in the past?  What do you want to try this year?  Did you know that it takes 8 times to change a habit?  What have you done to lose the weight and has it worked?  Change a little at a time and keep doing it before you know it you will be doing it automatically and become healthier in the process!

If you want to keep up with the latest of healthy in general you can sign up for to receive Reliv’s free Science & Health Today newsletter via email at https://annettepresseau.reliv.com/

Well, thanks for reading about how to you start your year healthy.  I hope this blog entry encourages you to follow through with your own health goals for 2012.  It has helped me to put away those Hersey chocolate bars and start walking!

To your health!

Annette Presseau         Reliv Distributor (Billerica MA)

annettepresseau@gmail.com           978-985-3878

http://annettepresseau.Reliv.com

Fed Rule Limits Credit Cards for stay-at-home-parents

Stay at home parents are affected by this rule that took effect back in October.  What are the long ranging implications of this rule. 

The link to an article that appears on creditcards.com website will help everyone to understand this new regulation:

http://www.creditcards.com/credit-card-news/stay-at-home-parent-credit-cards-household-income-1282.php

 

January – National Radon Month

http://seg.sharethis.com/getSegment.php?purl=http%3A%2F%2Fgreenjoanrealestate.wordpress.com%2Fwp-admin%2Fpost-new.php&jsref=&rnd=1326712748347

For those who may not know, radon is an odorless, colorless radioactive gas formed by the natural breakdown of uranium.  It can be found in high concentrations in rock and soil containing granite, shale, phosphate and uranium, or even in fill soil containing industrial waste.

It can be present in any area, in any home.  Its source can be the radon in the soil or the building products used in a home.  Studies say that approximately one in 15 homes in the US and Canada has high levels of naturally-occurring radon gas.  Generally the potential, however, is greater in hilly or mountainous areas and lower in sandy, coastal areas.

According to various sources on the web, depending on how houses are built and ventilated, radon may accumulate in basements and dwellings. It can also seep into an indoor environment through cracks in solid floors, construction joints, cracks in walls, gaps in suspended floors, gaps around service pipes, cavities inside walls, and the water supply.  Radon concentrations in the same location may differ by a factor of two over a period of one hour. Also, the concentration in one room of a building may be significantly different than the concentration in an adjoining room.territory.

According to the EPA website (http://www.epa.gov/radon/pubs/citguide.html) there are two ways to test:

(1) The quickest way to test is with short-term tests.  Short-term tests remain in your home for two days to 90 days, depending on the device.  “Charcoal canisters,” “alpha track,” “electret     ion chamber,” “continuous monitors,” and “charcoal liquid scintillation”     detectors are most commonly used for short-term testing. Because radon     levels tend to vary from day to day and season to season, a short-term test     is less likely than a long-term test to tell you your year-round average radon level. If you need results quickly, however, a short-term test     followed by a second short-term test may be used to decide whether to fix your home.

(2) Long-term tests remain in your home for more than 90 days.  “Alpha track” and “electret”     detectors are commonly used for this type of testing. A long-term test will give you a reading that is more likely to tell you your home’s year-round average radon level than a short-term test.

Why consider testing? According to the EPA website:

Radon gas decays into radioactive particles that can get trapped in your lungs when you breathe.  As they break down further, these particles release small bursts of energy.  This can damage lung tissue and lead to lung cancer over the course  of your lifetime.  Not everyone exposed to elevated levels of radon will develop lung cancer.  And the amount of time between exposure and the onset of the disease may be  many years.

Like other environmental pollutants, there is some uncertainty about the magnitude of radon health risks. However, we know more about radon risks than risks from most other cancer-causing substances. This is because  estimates of radon risks are based on studies of cancer in humans (underground miners).

Smoking combined with radon is an especially serious health risk.  Stop smoking and lower your radon level to reduce your lung cancer risk.

If you are buying a home, consider a short term test.  Generally for less than $100 extra during a home inspection, you can put your mind at ease.

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