Category Archives: Home and Garden

Cleaning gutters is an easy job to put off, but the longer you wait the worse it can get. Thoroughly cleaning your gutters every spring and fall will help keep them working like they’re supposed to. Debris can build up and cause damage to your downspouts and cause water damage to your roof.

FRED ice dam 2An ice dam is a ridge of ice that forms at the edge of a roof and prevents melting snow (water) from draining off the roof. The water that backs up behind the dam can leak into a home and cause damage to walls, ceilings, insulation, and other areas.

 

FRED gutter photo 1Most people know that they need to have to the house gutters cleaned. We know that if leaves and debris block the flow of water it will freeze in the winter.  But for some reason this easy cleaning is overlooked.  Calling a gutter cleaning company is a quick and easy fix.  I recently had my gutters in Woburn cleaned out.  For years I didn’t think there would be much of anything in the gutters because there is not a tree near the front of the house and only a few in the back of the house.  I called American Gutters and set up an appointment, and for $80 they cleaned the front and back gutters on the house.  After American Gutters was at my house and cleaned the gutters, they left a trash bag full of leaves and dirt.  I could not believe the amount of leaves and debris that was in there.  Now I set up an appointment for them to come every year.  It is money well spent to not have to worry about clogged gutters or worse …damage to your home that ice dams can cause because of clogged gutters.

fred-damore-headshot-photoAbout the author : Fred DaMore is a Mortgage Specialist at Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation. In addition he is a local homeowner who pays attention to his annual home maintenance requirements.   Feel free to contact him at fred.damore@fairwaymc.com


Category: Home and Garden

miceIn Woburn we never had to deal with mice so I didn’t even imagine that when we purchased a house in Killington, Vermont that we would have unwelcome houseguests.

I heard that traps work best, but you need at least 6 or more.  The amount of traps is not the reason why I do not use them… Yes, I snapped my finger in one. I decided to use the electronic mousetraps.  They are simple to use because you just plug them into the wall outlet.  I’m not sure if they work or not, but I use them.  I have also tried d-CON.  I’m very careful using this product because I don’t want my dog to get at it and chew on the box.  The d-CON method attracts the mouse/mice to the trap and then it eats the poison, travels outside to get water and then dies somewhere outside the house. (Well, they sometimes die in the house, but we may not be in Vermont for weeks so there is an unpleasant smell. )

So, with that being said, I still have mice as unwelcome houseguests.  I am going to continue to use d-CON and the electronic mousetraps, but this fall I’m going to add mothballs.  Mice don’t like the strong smell of mothball so I’m going to see if that makes a difference.

Please, I need advice on this so please share your thoughts.

 

fred-damore-headshot-photoAbout the author : Fred DaMore is a Mortgage Specialist at Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation, homeowner and self-acclaimed do it yourselfer.  Feel free to contact him at fred.damore@fairwaymc.com


Category: DIY, Home and Garden

things to do in may photo galeMay is a good month to finish your Spring To Do List, and start thinking about tackling your Summer To Do List.

 

 

  • Turn on your outdoor spigots and check your garden hoses for leaks.
  • Take a look at your deck or patio. Does your deck need to be repainted or refinished? Does your patio need new bricks or stones?
  • Wash and set out your outdoor furniture.
  • Inspect your pool after the long winter. Start getting it ready for the upcoming summer months.
  • We use our outdoor grill year round, but it’s a good idea in the spring to clean it and make sure you have enough propane or charcoal.
  • Mulch your shrubbery bed, and till and prepare your vegetable garden.
  • Memorial Day Weekend is a popular time in New England to buy your tomato plants for your home garden.
  • Take the cover off your outdoor air conditioning unit and open up your vents in your house. Test the central air conditioning system well before the first hot day of summer, or you may be surprised! Start thinking about putting your window air conditioners back in the windows.
  • Wash your windows, inside and out.
  • Buy sunscreen products and bug spray so you are ready for the summer months.
  • Go through your winter wool clothes and decide what is headed for the dry cleaners and what is headed to Goodwill.
  • In New England, May is a great month to start up your walking regimen.

Gale Crop 2011 jpegAbout the Author – When Gale is not working at home on her “To Do List”, she enjoys working with both Sellers and Buyers. Gale Spadafora is one of the Broker Owners at RE/MAX Legacy and can be contacted through her website at www.galespadafora.com.


Jenn HGTVToday people can’t get enough of HGTV’s hottest shows like Property Brothers, Flip or Flop, Fixer Upper or Love it or List it just to name a few.  So what is keeping people glued to their TV for hours on end binge watching their favorite HGTV show?  I have a couple of reasons why it’s ranked #8 on the list of top 10 cable networks according to The Futon Critic with 2015 finishing with its highest ratings ever.

Let’s start with the formula of HGTV’s programming.  It’s a procedural show which is a genre of programming in which a problem is introduced, investigated and solved all within the same episode.  It makes it easier for viewers to tune in for one episode without feeling lost.  We get to see the home improvement shows make things better.  We watch on the edge of our seat the tough issues of unexpected water damage that leads the contractor to go over budget or the worry of not meeting the scheduled deadline.  Miraculously, at the end of the each episode it’s wrapped up with a nice bow on top.  That’s what viewers want and need to see happen. 

Another key factor is the host’s personalities drive the show.  We get to see Chip and Joanna Gaines of Fixer Upper come out looking like heroes at the same time we get a peek into their family life too.  Joanna has clients meet her at home to discuss the new floor plan she’s implementing for their fixer upper.  Toward the end of the show Chip pops by with their four children to bring Momma some cupcakes to get her though endless hours of staging.  The same thing happens with Property Brothers.  We see both brothers struggling to get their jobs done all the while their larger than life personas entertain us.  As they say “we take our jobs seriously, but not ourselves.”

Lastly, have you actually thought about why people want the open concept living spaces, master “suite”, high end cabinetry, granite counter tops, hardwood floors and stainless steel appliances?  Besides the fact that it looks gorgeous it also offers us a different lifestyle.  Open concept means more room to socialize and host parties.  The high end finishings represent luxury and comfort.  The master suite is where you can hide from your children to get your sanity back and relax in your soaker tub.  I think most of us would love to live this lifestyle even if it’s for a 30 minute block at a time.

Jennifer ScaliJenn Scali is a Realtor at RE/MAX Legacy who would love to help you find your “new lifestyle.”  You can reach her at (617) 905-7211 or on her website at www.jennscali.com


Fred well water photo 1We have a second home in Killington VT.  Our home in Woburn has city water and sewer lines.  Last December, we were in Killington and I had to use the bathroom.  I attempted to flush the toilet and nothing; it didn’t work.  We had no water.  I yelled, “Ann the toilet is not working”.  She said “great, this is what happens when you don’t have city water and sewer lines.”  We went to the basement to check the utility room and discovered that there was no water pressure in the pump tank.  We told everyone who was in the house not to use the bathrooms and we all went skiing.  We thought that in about 5 hours the water would regain pressure and we would be fine.

At about 1:00pm that afternoon, my friend Jeff (who is an electrician) came over to make sure there were not any electrical issues.  What we found was that the pump in the system was working fine and we could hear the pump spinning, but no water was coming up the well.  Jeff suggested getting our hose and tapping into the neighbor’s outside faucet to fill the well with water to see how long it would last.. We filled the well for 4 hours and it worked fine.

Fred well water photo 2The next day we spoke to the plumber that put in the well and he came by and tested it.  The pipe had 50 feet of water in it, so we were ok.   But we still did not know why we had this issue.  Days went by, no problems, the water worked fine.  Then the same week we were in the basement (there is a bathroom down there) and heard the toilet running.  Finally we figured out what happened. The basement toilet was running all week when we were not at the house and the system could not recover, causing no water to be in the well.  I changed all the stoppers in each toilet in the bathrooms and so far so good 2 months and no well issues.

Fred Damore headshot photoAbout the author : Fred DaMore is a Mortgage Specialist at Ross Mortgage, homeowner and self-acclaimed do it yourselfer.  Feel free to contact him at fred.damore@rossmortgageco.com

 


As a taxpayer, I am always looking for tax deductions or credits to help me pay less taxes.  Did you know that as a home owner you could get a tax credit of up to $500 for making energy saving improvements to your home?! Some of these improvements include energy efficient windows, insulation, central air conditioning, roofing furnaces and so much more.  To learn who and what qualifies go to irs.gov and search for form 5695


antnew1

About the author: Anthony Giglio is one of the broker/owner’s of RE/MAX Legacy and is an passionate about getting all the tax deductions and credits he can. You can learn more about him and contact him directly by visiting his website www.myhomeMA.com


Buying a home is a milestone.  When you are young you listen to everything your parents say.  Once you reach the age of 13 you stop telling your parents everything.  At 16 years old, you can drive.  By 18 years of age you graduate high school and think you know everything.  Somewhere in your late 20’s, 30’s or early 40’s you will buy your first home or your next home and you may find yourself at Ikea.  For young new homeowners, you will get the best bang for your buck, just bring a truck.  All Ikea furniture has to be assembled.  It doesn’t take too long but if you miss a step you will be taking it apart and starting over.  Last month, Auntie Jean and my favorite cousin Nicole closed on a home.  The strange part is, the week before the closing my wife wanted to use my truck to help Nicole pick up some items.  They went and bought many things.  The following weekend, my family and I went to see the new house and then it happened……. “ Fred, in the back of the truck there are 2 full size beds and drawers that need to be assembled.”  So in 3 hours I assembled all the furniture (Ann helped) and then they let me eat dinner.  I guess the moral of my story is that if everyone goes to Ikea after purchasing a home, they’ll need someone like me to put it all together.

http://www.ikea.com/us/en/store/stoughton

 

Fred Damore headshot photoAbout the Author : Fred DaMore is a Mortgage Specialist at Ross Mortgage, homeowner and self-acclaimed do it yourselfer.  Feel free to contact him at fred.damore@rossmortgageco.com

 


Category: DIY, Home and Garden

Roland Melted SidingA few times in recent years, I have come across homes with distorted, melted vinyl siding.  The first thought is to ask “how could this have happened?”  The answer is very simple – the neighbors did it!  Well actually the neighbors didn’t do it, at least not intentionally, but when they installed their new low – e windows, the process began (unbeknownst to all parties).

Here’s what’s really happening.  The neighbor installs low emissivity windows because they provide great benefit to him.  The low emissivity windows have a thin layer on the inside of the outer piece of glass of a double paned insulated window.  This keeps out the heat from the infrared rays of the sun while allowing natural daylight to pass through. In the winter time, it also reflects the heat within the room back into the room.  That all sounds great for the homeowner with the energy efficient low – e windows.

But what happens to the heat that is reflected away on the outside?  The window acts like a magnifying glass that directs a “laser beam” of energy towards the next door neighbor.  The position of the sun in the sky can affect the intensity and the worst conditions are winter time when the sun is lower which results in a greater impact.   Traditional siding like cedar shingles or clapboards is not affected.  But vinyl siding is affected and the siding melts and distorts.

If you have a cooperative neighbor, you can ask that he install screens on the outside of his windows that will disperse the energy without affecting the effectiveness of the windows.  This should take care of the problem.

Another option, although more costly, is to install HardiePlank siding on your home.  This is a fiber-cement product, but the cost is 3 times that of regular vinyl siding.

It sounds like the best fix is for the neighbor to invest in a few hundred dollars to purchase screens and hope it does the trick.  Replacing the defective vinyl siding without resolving the cause will only result in it happening again.

For more information about low – e windows to understand the benefit and potential problems, a quick Google search will provide all the information you need to know.

Roland Crop 2011 jpeg (1)About the author: Roland Spadafora is one of the broker owners of RE/MAX Legacy. You can learn more about him on his website www.spadaforateam.com

 


Heat loan Gale photoMassachusetts has a loan program available to assist with energy efficiency improvements.  The Mass Save® Residential HEAT Loan Program provides interest free loans for up to seven years and a maximum of $25,000 for Massachusetts residential homes and rental properties.  The program is funded by the following program administrators who buy down the interest on the HEAT Loan making it 0% interest to the customer:  National Grid, Eversource, Columbia Gas of Massachusetts, Unitil (MA), Liberty Utilities, and Cape Light Compact.

Call Mass Save® at (866) 527-7283 to schedule a no-cost Home Energy Assessment or work with a participating Home Performance Contractor.  They will review the results of your assessment and let you know which improvements would be eligible for the special financing.

Go to http://www.masssave.com/residential/offers/heat-loan-program for a list of improvements that might be available to you. Type in your Zip Code and Source of Heat to get the promotions available.  The following are typical of the improvements you may qualify for:

  • Attic, Wall, and Basement Insulation
  • High Efficiency Heating Systems
  • Central Air Conditioning/ Air Source Heat Pumps
  • Ductless Mini Split Heat Pumps
  • High Efficiency Domestic Hot Water Systems
  • Solar Hot Water Systems
  • 7-Day Digital & Wi Fi Thermostats
  • ENERGY STAR® Qualified Replacement Windows

For a limited time only, take advantage of the expanded HEAT Loan offerings funded by the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources:

  • NEW: High Efficiency Wood Pellet Boilers
  • NEW: Deeper Energy Savings
  • NEW: Expanded 2-4 Family Loan
  • NEW: Grants to Remove Asbestos, Upgrade Knob & Tube Wiring

 

Once you have your Assessment done you are ready to contact a Participating Lender. The list of Participating Lenders can be found at http://www.masssave.com/~/media/Files/Residential/Information-and-Edu-Docs/HeatLoanLenderList.pdf  Look for your service area to find a lender. There is also information about the maximum loan available at each lender and whether the loan is secured or unsecured.

Business customers, including non-profits and multi-family complexes with five or more dwelling units also have the opportunity to apply for interest-free loans up to $100,000 with terms up to seven years.

The HEAT Loan Program is definitely something that every Massachusetts resident should explore.  For more information go to the Mass Save® website at http://www.masssave.com/

Gale Crop 2011 jpegAbout the Author – Gale Spadafora is passionate about the environment and promoting Green initiatives.  She is one of the Broker Owners at RE/MAX Legacy and can be contacted through her website at www.galespadafora.com


rubber
We all have them lying around our house in a drawer somewhere.  My rubber bands happen to be in my kitchen drawer.  Did you know that there are so many ways we can use them.  Some ways I’m sure you have never even tried  I put together a list of my top 11:

 

 

  1. Clean a paintbrush. Slip it over a can of paint and swipe your brush over it to remove excess paint.
  2. Mark the level of liquid remaining in a solid color container such as a paint can. Slide it around the can to mark the amount of paint that’s left in the can.
  3. Pick up a dropped object in a tight spot. For this you need a nylon as well.  Place the nylon over the hose of the extension wand and secure it with a rubber band.  The vacuum’s suction will pick it up and the nylon will prevent the object from going through the vacuum.
  4. Keep your tools handy. Tie it through a wrench and put the other end of the rubber band on your wrist.  In case if falls out of your hand, it won’t go too far.
  5. Cushion a remote control. If you have kids this is a must.  Place the rubber band around the center and it won’t scratch or slide across the coffee table.
  6. Open a hard to open jar. If you ran out those “jar openers” just slide a wide rubber band around the top and it will prevent your hand from slipping.
  7. Shorten electric cords. Wrap a rubber band around excess electrical cords to shorten them so you won’t trip.
  8. Temporarily fix a leak. Wrap a rubber band around the leak in a pipe or hose and then call a plumber.
  9. Prevent a mixing spoon from sliding into a bowl. Twist it around the spoon to the desired level and then place it in your bowl.
  10. Toddler proof cabinets. Stretch a few rubber bands tightly between the left and right cabinet knobs to lock them in place.
  11. Keep a sliced apple fresh. After cutting the apple, place slices back together and with a clean rubber band wrap it around the apple.  It stays fresher 50% longer.

So the next time you have a rubber band think twice about tossing it in the trash.

Jennifer ScaliAbout the Author:  Jenn Scali is a Realtor® working at RE/MAX Legacy.  Tips for using the rubber bands is “thinking outside the box”, just like Jenn “thinks outside the box” when she works with her sellers and buyers.  You can reach her at (617) 905-7211 or on website www.jennscali.com


Category: DIY, Home and Garden