Category Archives: Prudential DIY

10 Home Checks to Prepare for the Warmer Months

Homes can take a bad hit during the winter, particularly after this year’s harsh weather. Seasonal damage to a home isn’t always easily visible, but if it’s not repaired, spring and summer storms can add to the problems.

Read on at the National Association of Realtors to find out the 10 home checks to make sure your space is ready for the summer!

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Top 10 Most Popular Remodeling Jobs

According to builders, kitchens are no longer the most popular project. READ ON to learn what the top ten remodeling jobs were in 2013.

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photos-kitchen-remodel-home-improvement-image8912378

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Ten Low-Cost Changes That Can Help Your Property Sell

When selling a property we all want to reap maximum value from the sale. This post takes a look at ten low-cost changes you can make to your property to help it sell. So, let’s take a look…

111_elgin_street_MLS_HID792226_ROOMfrontexterior1_smClean up the exterior of your property. This the first thing potential buyers are going to notice when they approach your property. Begin by trimming the bushes, mowing the lawn, and wiping down your garden furniture.

Update rooms with a slick of paint. Opt for on-trend colors or play it safe with neutrals. This will give the room in question an instant uplift.

Consider adding vinyl tiles to your bathroom. If you are looking for an easy and effective way to spruce up your bathroom, vinyl tiles are a great option. Old and discolored bathroom floors have a detrimental impact on the overall style of the room but can be a quick fix.

Set up up extra storage space. Firstly, clutter never appeals to a buyer! Secondly, a lot of properties (especially old ones) do not match up the storage requirements property hunters demand nowadays. Consider things like closet organizers, under bed storage,     and other simple storage ideas.

90 Wallis Road kit2_smFix bent drawer tracks and slides. A lopsided drawer is something a potential buyer is guaranteed to notice. However, replacing the item altogether can prove to be a costly expense. Instead, check the tracks and fix the damage.

Let there be light. Getting your lighting right is essential. It creates the perfect atmosphere and gives the room in question greater appeal. For instance, dim lights are a poor choice for the kitchen area, you want this space to be lit up so it looks fresh and inviting.

Upgrade your front door. A stylish front door can 38 Goldsmith_smreally impress a prospective buyer. After all, this is literally the entrance to your home and thus it sets the tone for what else is to come. New doors can be expensive so consider staining or painting your existing door.

Accessories. Finish off your room with a few key accessories to make it look more stylish and homely. You’d be surprised by the difference a piece of art and a table centerpiece can make.

33_boylston_street_MLS_HID811037_ROOMfamilyroom_smTake care of carpets and rugs. Nothing looks worse than a worn and discolored rug or carpet. Try steam cleaning rugs and carpets to give some new life into them.

Add the perfect finishing touch with a beautiful scent. You definitely don’t want to experience the moment someone walks into your property and says “what is that smell?”. Clean smelly surfaces and infuse your home with subtle welcoming scents.

Source: Homedit

Decorating Tips for the Holidays

 

Bust out the garland and red bows, it is time for some holiday decorating!  There are several ideal spots to put up holiday décor as described below:

Prudential_House_Decorations

Front Door: wreaths on the front door welcome guests and show them you are ready for the season.

Mailbox: Adorn your mailbox with garland, bows or twinkling lights. The postman will appreciate your holiday spirit!

Lighting: dress up your outdoor lights such as sconces, lamp posts with ribbon, garland, lights and more! Don’t forget indoor lighting such as the chandelier over your dining room table or lamps in each room. Holiday ribbon is a quick and easy addition to dress up any light.rn your mailbox with garland, bows or twinkling lights. The postman will appreciate your holiday spirit!

Front Porch: The front porch is an ideal decorating spot. Dress it up with wintery items such as old sleds and skates, outdoor winter themed pillows, twinkling lights and so much more.

Entry Table: This is perfect spot to display holiday cards received throughout the season.

Stairs: Garland, ribbon, lights and other holiday items look fabulous lining stair railings.

Mantel: Make guests flock to your fireplace not only for warmth but also to check out how cozy it is with your new decor! Dress up your mantel with pinecones, garland, place a flannel throw on the nearest chair and put a mirror up to help make the room look bigger whilst reflecting the other holiday décor around the house.

Tables: Use each table around the house as another spot to decorate with an amazing holiday themed centerpiece. Peppermint candles are a great addition to all holiday centerpieces.

Last but not least don’t forget to decorate the outside of your home with lights! Twinkling lights brighten any home for the holidays and give you a chance to really show off that holiday spirit. If you can’t line your roof with lights because you live in an apartment try lining each window with lights so you can enjoy them from both inside and out. Other places you can light up outside would be your walkways, tree trunks, and any steps leading up into your home. Sparkling wreaths are also a great addition to windows to dress them up from the outside.

Happy Holidays from Prudential Unlimited!

DIY: Turn your Master Bedroom a True Retreat

Turn your Master Bedroom a True Retreat

With our DIY tips below you can turn your master bedroom in to a relaxing retreat tucked away inside your own home!

Bedding:

Watch your local stores for deals, sales and coupons. Purchase a nice bed in a bag set so that you get all of your sheets, comforter, shams and decorative pillows in one easy package. Choose a set in soft tranquil colors that easy on the eyes, making sleep come easy. When considering new bedding remember to think about things like the thread count, ply, and weave, these items affect the softness and breathability of the sheets. Cotton Sateen sheets are perfect for summer as they are extremely soft to the touch but have a light weave that allows more air circulation to keep you cool. While flannel sheets have a heavy weave to trap in body heat and keep you warm all winter long.

Lighting:

Overhead lighting can be harsh and bright so dress up your bedroom retreat with softer lighting to tone it down. Replace the light bulbs on your nightstand lamps with soft white bulbs 40 watts or under. Changing out your lamp shades to a more neutral color can soften the tone of the room as well. To further dress up the room, use stencils and fabric paint to create interesting designs on your lampshades. Sick of looking at your current lighting? Stop by your local Goodwill or thrift shop and find unique lamp bases you can spray paint and dress them up with new or fresh painted lamp shades!

Furniture:

Is your furniture looking dingy and dinged up? Use spackle to patch up large dents in the wood, once dry sand the entire piece and paint your desired color. You can further dress up your furniture by swapping out the hardware such as the drawer knobs and handles. Large home improvement stores will often have a clearance section for hardware pieces that only have limited quantities remaining. If you prefer natural wood furniture, sand and re-stain the wood to your desired color. Keep your furniture looking beautiful by polishing regularly with walnut oil for an all natural chemical free polish.

Walls:

Paint all but one wall a soft relaxing color and choose something a little brighter or a nice pattern to highlight your accent wall. Bold quatrefoil and chevron patterns look great on a single way and make the room look bigger. Soft blues, greens, purples and grays are said to bring down blood pressure and slow respiration and heart rate which is exactly what your bedroom retreat needs!

Visit our Pinterest page to find tutorials on the above DIY tricks!

Home Maintenance for Summer

Home Maintenance for Summer

Check and change air conditioner filters often to keep dust and allergens out of the air and to prolong the life of your machine whether it be a window unit or central a/c. Cleaning the coils on your air conditioner will also help to keep it running smoothly during this heat.

Have you been outside grilling all summer? Give your grill a night off and a good cleaning to keep little critters from crawling around inside. To clean a gas grill, turn up the heat and burn off all the junk inside and on the grates. Take your grill brush to the grates afterwards to make sure and get off all of the burned bits. Scrub the outside with dish soap to remove all the dirt and grease and rinse off with a spray bottle or the hose!

Sweep your porch/deck off and inspect for lose boards and nails that might be sticking up. Summer is the perfect time for repairs, cleaning and staining before it is covered in snow again.

It is not too late to plant something new in your garden! Vegetables such as carrots, beets, turnips, collards, endive, kale and many others can be planted now in time for the perfect fall harvest. Mulching in July is also important to help plants retain their moisture in the sweltering summer heat as well as discouraging weeds from growing in your perfect garden.

Check your roof, gutters, and windows to ensure the winter snow and spring showers did not cause any damage. Properly sealed windows will help cut down on air conditioning costs while clean gutters will prevent rain backing up into your attic and damaging the roof.

 

Summer DIY Backyard Fun

Once you’ve completed your maintenance checklist don’t forget to enjoy your backyard or deck this summer with our list of DIY items.

Add outdoor games to the mix! Giant jenga and cornhole sets are fun games that can be made or purchased for cheap and used all summer long.  All you’ll need to use are 2 x 4’s to build your game of jenga. For this build it is best to use (4) 2 x 4 x 16 pieces of wood which will yield 72, 10.5” pieces to play with and decorate.

Enjoy smores all summer long buy building your own fire pit! All you’ll need is some nice pavers/cinder blocks, gravel, sand, some basic tools and enough wood to last you all summer. Clear out the area where you’d like to build your fire pit and then place your first layer of blocks in the desired shape. Build up blocks in layers to your desired height and once completed layer with several inches deep of both gravel and sand. Fill with wood and light it up!

Create a simple raised bed garden and grow your own fresh fruit and vegetables! You can learn how to build one here.

Help your backyard critter beat the heat! Install a simple bird bath and bird/squirrel feeders in your trees. This will give you beautiful animals to look at while providing them some much needed food and water. For added beauty install a small hummingbird feeder!

 

Quick Tips: Spring Cleaning and Roof Maintenance

boston-common

The snow is gone and it’s time to do some spring cleaning, here is a list of items to clean and things to do during your spring cleaning session!

Wipe down walls and ceilings

This is a big one, especially for kitchens! Break out the degreaser and clean the walls near the stove and sink to remove excess grease build up.  Ceilings looking a little dusty?Take your broom and give all your ceilings a good sweep.

Rugs and Carpets looking a little grimy from dirty snow shoes?

Now is the time to vacuum heavily and shampoo all your carpets and rugs. Most local grocery stores offer rentals for carpet shampooing but there are a number of companies that will do this for you as well. Keep an eye out for seasonal, Groupon and Livingsocial deals in your area.

Don’t forget about your fabric furniture either!

Fabric furniture can often be cleaned my the companies that do your carpets and rugs so see if they have a special deal for both! If you’d prefer to do this yourself take cushions outside and beat them with a broom handle to shake loose dirt and dust. IF you vacuum has a hose attachment run that all over furniture and cushions that have been collecting dirt and dust all winter long.

Door handles and hardware looking scumy?

Polish them! Depending on the material, you may need a certain type of polish but scour your local store to see what works best for you to vanish that tarnish! Don’t forget about all of the cabinet hardware in the kitchen, bathrooms and any built in’s you might have.  Door knobs and hinges can also use a good polishing now and again. You can also wax or polish all wooden surfaces as well. Old English and Murphy’s Oil are great for wood surfaces that need a little love in the Spring.

Window treatments looking a little neglected?

Take them down and give them a good wash or take them to get drycleaned. Dusting does little to clean fabric window treatments so we sure to give them a bath once in awhile to keep your home allergen free. Make sure to wipe down blinds and window sills while the treatments are removed as well.

Winter clothes and decorations be gone.

Make sure to trade out those winter clothes for spring clothes and pack away all heavy curtains, rugs and throws so that they can be replaced with lighter ones. This is also a great time to donate items that no longer fit or are getting old and worn.

Sort thru items in the attic and basement to look for items to donate and to better organize with event, holiday, etc. Use concrete blocks to keep storage boxes off the ground. Place your washer and dryer on elevated pedestals to prevent electrical shock in preparation for any potential flooding.

Outside

Sweep up cobwebs and debris with a broom, and wash exterior walls with a solution of all-purpose cleaner and water using a sponge. Treat mildew spots with a solution of 1 part oxygen bleach to 3 parts water using a deck brush. Most materials, including aluminum, plastic, wood, and wicker, can handle a solution of mild dishwashing liquid and water and a soft-bristle brush.

Wash all outside covers, and check for damaged wires and connections on outside fixtures.

Lastly, make sure fire and CO2 alarms have fresh batteries and test them to make sure they are functioning as they should. 

Roof Maintenance

In the spring, homeowners should survey the damage that harsh winter conditions have rendered. Your shingles, gutters and flashing all need to be checked for damage once the spring thaw has occurred. A roofing contractor can be hired for an inspection but it is also something you can do yourself. Here’s a DIY guide to spring roof maintenance:


1. Survey your shingles carefully: This involves getting up on a ladder and actually scanning your shingles. You should look for shingles that are missing, peeling, or losing their grain. Sun exposure can cause asphalt shingles to become brittle and to crack. If you notice peeling, missing or grainless shingles, replace or repair them.


2. Clean moss and mold from your roof’s shingles: If you notice moss or mold growing on or in between your shingles, remove it. Do not power wash moss or mold off of your shingles. Power washing can remove the protective top layer from your shingles. Buy a roof moss remover solution and spray your roof with it, and then remove the moss with a long-handled broom.


3. Tighten metal roof bolts: If you have a metal roof, tighten the bolts of the metal roof in the spring. This is great preparation for summer and autumn storm seasons.


4. Clean your gutters and downspouts: Gutter cleaning is an annoying job, but you can definitely do it yourself. Get out your ladder and a garden trowel. Scoop all of the leaves and debris out of your gutter, and be sure to clean out the entrance and exit of the downspout. Secure your gutter if it is loose.


5. Repair chimney and skylight flashing: Flashing is the metal strips that seal the juncture between your chimney or skylight and your roof. Strong winds and snow can cause the flashing to come loose. Tack down the flashing in order to prevent leaks from summer and spring rain storms.


6. Clean out soffits and fascias: Small animals love to nest in soffit and fascia vents. Their warmth is an attractive option for cold animals during the winter months. Inspect and clean soffits and fascias to prevent unwanted pests from nesting there. As with any DIY roof maintenance work, be mindful of safety. If your roof is in serious disrepair or is simply too high or steep for you to maintain yourself, call a professional roofer.

Quick Tips: Fall Décor Ideas with Chelsea Moore

Another turn of the seasons means a chance to re-vamp your home inside and out. This week’s Quick Tips by Chelsea Moore takes a look at how you can spruce up your house for a festive fall.

Jazzing up the Outside of Your Home

Check out your local farmer’s markets, flower shops, grocery stores and home improvement shops for sales on local fall flowers. You can trade those summer flowers out for beautiful fall florals in hues of orange and red.

Large pumpkins, colorful gourds and large pots filled with mums, marigolds or impatient’s are the perfect decorations for the front stoop or porch.

There are a number of other flowers and plants that grow easily in the fall and brighten up any yard. See our list of fall plants below:

  • Calico Aster
  • Sunflowers
  • Gerbera Daisies
  • Cosmos
  • Dahlias
  • Toad Lily
  • Goldenrod
  • Russian Sage
  • Colchicum
  • Helenium
  • Sedum
  • Red Spider Lilies

Interior Décor

There are so many simple crafts that can add a dramatic Fall flair to any home.

Frame up your favorite fall leaves!  Pick some of your favorite leaves outside, dry and press in a book (or something similar). Once dry and pressed, place on top of a piece of decorative fall paper or a page from an old book and toss inside an old frame. Old books and frames can be found in Thrift stores and places like Goodwill and Salvation Army for cheap and easily refurbished in this kind of project!

Looking for fun ways to dress up those plain old candles you have lying around? Well look no further! Go outside and gather all different shapes and sizes of twigs, cut and arrange around your candles using a low temp glue gun or super glue to hold them in place or have a helper tie twine or raffia around them to hold them in place. Another cute candle idea is to take cinnamon sticks and tie them around the candles as well and when the candle burns it will send a wonderful cinnamon scent through out your home. For maximum scent effect, pair with a vanilla, apple or pumpkin candle! If you have a few empty cylinder vases or can find some for cheap fill them up about a third of the way with fake cranberries or mini fake pumpkins/gourds and nestle in your candle to create your own little candle oasis.

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Check out our Pinterest page for free Halloween and Fall printables, as well as other great fall craft ideas. Fall printables are perfect for framing and setting up on your mantle with your newly decorated candles and some festive gourds.

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Don’t forget to come in, call or visit us at PrudentialUnlimited.com for all your Real Estate needs in Boston, Brookline, Jamaica Plain and surrounding areas.

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Quick Tips: Moving into a new apartment.


Living in a new environment, whether as a first time home owner, veteran property professional, or college student in a new dorm… can be stressful. This weeks’ “Quick Tips” are all about your new home; getting things organized, cleaning what the previous tenants left behind, and general household upkeep with a twist. After the chaos that was Sept. 1st, 2012 (See our survival guide HERE)  we will to take a look at some steps you can take to make your new house a home.

Around the House

1.

Candle wax on your new floor? Use a brown paper bag and an iron to clean up the mess! Place a paper towel or brown paper bag over the dry wax spill and press with an iron on low heat. The wax will stick to the paper and lift right off your floor!

2.

Wooden furniture legs scratched during the move? Take a raw walnut, rub it over the scratches and watch as they disappear. The natural oils in the walnuts help to seal the scratches on your wooden furniture, making them look brand new.

3.

Polish chrome items with baby oil. Just a dab on a cotton cloth will make everything shine!

4.

Drains clogged? Mix equal parts baking soda and vinegar and
pour down a clogged drain and cover it with a warm wet cloth. Let the mixture settle in the pipes for about 5 minutes, uncover and run steaming hot water through the pipes.

5.

Greasy dinner make a mess on your clothes or furniture? Toss a little cornmeal on top of the grease stain and let it absorb your mess for about 10-15 minutes. Dust or vacuum over the cornmeal and, viola! No more grease stains!

6.

Water stains ruining your furniture? Turn that hair dryer on high and aim at the stain. Watch as the water ring disappears! Once the ring is gone, dab a little olive oil over the surface to keep the wood moisturized. A hot iron over a towel will work wonders on those water stains as well.

In the Kitchen

1.

Cleaning your food processor or grinder regularly can be a chore but it will keep residual flavors from mixing together and creating a not so tasty treat. For a quick fix, toss a piece of fresh white bread in and run your processor/grinder. This will lift any residual oils or smalls pieces of food out of the appliance.

2.

Hate the self cleaning function on your oven and heavy duty chemical cleaners? By making your own paste from baking soda and water you can clean your oven more naturally!

How to: Mix baking soda and water to a paste consistency and coat the oven surfaces evenly (but don’t cover the heating elements!). Let this sit overnight to break down the grease and grime that has accumulated in your oven. The next day (preferably while wearing gloves) take a plastic spatula, scrape it all up and wipe down with a damp paper towel. Once your ‘new’ oven is clean and ready to go, cover the bottom with an oven liner available at most home goods stores.

3.

Do your coffee cups have dark tea and coffee stains? White dishes stained and you haven’t been able to remove them? Fill your sink with warm water, drop a few denture cleaning tablets in the water and let your dishes soak until the stains are gone! Rinse and repeat as needed to remove the stains completely! For ceramic and enamel items with stains and dark scratches, try Bar Keeper’s Friend. Bar keepers friend is a great cleaning agent that will make your dishes look brand new!

4.

Microwave oven have stains or a weird odor? Fill a bowl or mug with water and a teaspoon of vanilla extract and heat on high for 2-3 minutes. Leave the microwave door shut for an additional couple of minutes to allow the steam to penetrate caked on food. Wipe down the interior with a damp cloth to remove grime. Leave the door open for a few hours to dry and let additional odors escape

Coming Up!

Next week we will have an update from Al Norton, Rental Manager for Prudential Unlimited Realty as well as market updates to help prepare you for the winter months. Don’t forget to come in, call or visit us at PrudentialUnlimited.com for all your Real Estate needs in Boston, Brookline, Jamaica Plain and the surrounding areas.

           

Also, to learn more about our ongoing FIRST TIME HOME BUYER SEMINARS and other educational services we provide, please CLICK HERE

Prudential Unlimited Quick Tips: Saving on Appliance Updates

      A Prudential Unlimited Quick Tips Article by Chelsea Moore

Upgrading appliances is an easy way to give a fresh new look to your kitchen but it can certainly be rough on the pocket book! This week we are taking a look at some cost effective alternatives and the types of places you can find some great deals!

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Craislist.org

Scour craigslist.org for local deals. Discount stores advertise there as well as people looking to upgrade to something better in their own kitchens. This is especially great for those of us with ancient appliances looking to upgrade to nicer, all black appliances instead of stainless steel. Make sure to take a look in the FREE section as well, you never know where a great kitchen table, chairs, or more will pop up, so check back often! CLICK HERE
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Scratch & Dent & SAVE!
Visit your local appliance stores “Scratch & Dent Section”. A few scratches and dents can knock a huge chunk out of that price tag! The best part is a lot of the scratches and dents you find are in a place where you won’t even see them, especially when you put the appliance into place in your home. Even if the scratch or dent is visible, you might be able to fix it for cheap! Home improvement stores sell appliances markers in a variety of colors and they work similarly to a paint pen from the craft store. Just sweep over the scratches with your appliance pen, let dry and repeat until you can’t see the scratch anymore.
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For Sale!
Watch for sales and additional discounts! Most appliance and large home improvement stores have sales for each holiday (or any random time) and often times on top of the sale price there are additional discounts in place. Keep an eye out for Energy Star and manufacturer discounts when you are in the store. Appliances, when not bought on a whim, can be deeply discounted just by spending the time to look at all your local stores, what kind of discounts they consistently offer and learn if that store price matches. Pricing matching plus discounts could save you even more money so keep an eye out.
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Store Cards + a little planning = Savings!

Store cards often offer discounts on products over a certain amount. Figure out where the best deal is going to be, save up all the money needed for those items and open a store card. The interest rates are often high on these cards but if you purchase your items at a discount and immediately pay it off you can save that much more. Additional “sign up bonuses” are also available. Be careful though, you are dealing with your personal credit, these alternative need to be carefully planned, but the savings are definitely worth it. Some places to start are Ikea, Jordan’s Furniture, and Home Depot!
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No Tax, No Brainer!
Wait for a tax free weekend! This year Massachusetts will be having tax free weekend, August 11 & 12. Taxes on the pricey items really just add to the pain of that final bill. Shopping on that tax free weekend will add to those savings instead!
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Next week we will have a special feature on Surviving the Sept. 1st move-in events happening ALL over Boston from Rental Manager, Al Norton. Remember to follow us socially and stay tuned for more cost saving tips and informative blogs and more!