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Tips for Saving Money on Your Winter Energy Bill

Tips for Saving Money on Your Winter Energy Bill

Posted By Andrea Robinson
November 30, 2022 Category: General

  With the cost of living reaching an all-time high, we’re all looking for ways to save a few bucks here and there. Here are 5 tips on how you can save money on your energy bill this winter:   Switch to a smart thermostat   If you’re someone who tends to forget to adjust your heating manually, investing in a smart thermostat that adjusts your heating based on the controls you set up will save you a ton of money over the winter months.   Find air leaks and seal them   Your door frames, window, and chimney may be letting some cold air into your home and/or letting the warm air out, making your heating system work harder to keep the heat. Make it a priority to check these frames yourself and hire a professional to let you know if any air is coming in from your chimney.   Swap out your regular bulbs for LED bulbs   LED light bulbs are 70% to 90% more efficient than incandescents and last 15 times longer. This means not only do you save money on your energy bill but also from not have to buy replacement bulbs as often.   Heat your home naturally   While you can’t heat your home to 70 degrees with only the sun, opening up your curtains during the day and letting the sun’s rays hit the inside of your home can help warm up your home by up to 2 degrees.    Unplug unused electronics   If you’re not actively using an electronic and it can be easily unplugg

5 Things to Help You Prepare Your Home for Winter

5 Things to Help You Prepare Your Home for Winter

Posted By Andrea Robinson
November 30, 2022 Category: General

  While this November may be one of the warmest Novembers we’ve ever experienced, let’s not forget that a couple of inches of snow is just around the corner!   That being said, there are a few things you can do to prepare your home for the Winter season once that snow starts falling.   Inspect all windows and doors for leaks   The first thing you want to do is go around your house and make sure that all windows and doors are properly sealed. If they’re not, then water from the snowfall and cold air can make its way into your house. Failing to seal your doors and windows can cause you a lot of money in repairs due to water damage and a hike in your energy bill.    Assess your roof   Heavy snowfall means lots of water accumulating on your roof. You want to make sure that you won’t have to climb a ladder to repair a spot on your roof during the cold and icy Winter months. Look out for any shingles that may need special attention. Also, look at the caulking around the chimney and your air vents while you’re at it.    Pad exposed pipes in unheated areas   When it gets really cold, this can cause your pipes to freeze. And we all know how expensive that can be if those pipes end up bursting! An easy and inexpensive method to avoid this happening is to pad the exposed pipes, even the smallest ones. Look in your attic, basement, and crawl space for pipes that may need

3 Things No One Tells You About Buying a Home

3 Things No One Tells You About Buying a Home

Posted By Andrea Robinson
November 30, 2022 Category: General

  Buying a home is a big step - and many dreams about this big day! But this dream can quickly turn into a nightmare if someone surprisingly shows up at your door claiming you owe them money.   Here are three things no one tells you about buying a home that you should be aware of and how purchasing a title insurance policy can protect you from these situations:   You might owe someone you don’t know money   If you’re moving into a new home, you become the new owner of this property. But you also become the person who is responsible for any liens that are associated with the house! Unfortunately, if the previous owner might have been in a pickle, these debts they have doesn’t magically disappear when they sell you the home.   Luckily, this is a situation that can be avoided by purchasing a title insurance policy. The agent would be doing some preliminary research to make sure you don’t have anything of this sort happen in the future. Should something come up that wasn’t discovered by the agent at the time they conducted their initial research, your insurance would cover you.   You might have your fence on the neighbor's property   Believe it or not, it often happens that someone’s pool or fence oversteps on their neighbor's property because they weren’t properly aware of where the limitations of their property are.    Again, if you have title insurance, this

3 Renovations to Increase Your Home's Value

3 Renovations to Increase Your Homes Value

Posted By Andrea Robinson
November 03, 2022 Category: General

By now, you most likely know that the real estate market is completely different from what it was a mere 6 months ago. If you have a home you are trying to sell, the market we are in right now will most likely resemble the one we knew before the pandemic hit.    That being said, most homeowners are looking for things they can do to ensure they can still get the highest amount possible for their homes.   While it would be awesome to increase your home’s value simply by wanting it to, it doesn’t work that way. You need to spend some money to make some.   Here are 3 different types of renovations you can do to increase your home’s value and get the highest possible price when selling:   Remodel your kitchen   It’s no secret that your kitchen is the heart of your home. Plus, it’s usually the main deciding factor when it comes to someone putting an offer on a house. It can easily make or break a deal!   Whether your cabinets are beaten up and could use a refresh or you’re thinking of changing up your backsplash for a more modern tile, it’s definitely worth the investment.    Update your main bathroom   Every bathroom is important, but the main one which is usually situated upstairs is THE most important.    This may not be as important as the kitchen, but it comes in second place in a buyer’s criteria for a home.    Everyone dreams of a spacio

Buying VS Renting: Which is Best?

Buying VS Renting: Which is Best

Posted By Andrea Robinson
October 13, 2022 Category: General

Most people’s ultimate dream is to own a home they can call theirs, but the market is proving to be more difficult than it was 10 years ago. As a result, many are renting instead of buying as they wait for rates to lower. But is the cost of renting in the meantime really worth it?   Here are the pros and cons of renting and buying right now:   Pros of Buying A Home   You build equity. Every penny you put towards the principal of your home is money you get back when you sell your home.   An excellent long-term investment. In addition to the money you can get back from the sale of your house from the principal, your home gains value every year. Throughout 10, 15, or even 20 years that can come up to a lot of extra cash in your pocket once you sell.   It’s yours to renovate. You don’t need any landlord’s permission to renovate or redesign anything in your home. You own the property so you call the shots.   Cons of Buying a Home   Cost of maintenance. When unexpected repairs or maintenance costs pop up, you have to foot the bill as you own the property.   Less mobility. If you have a new opportunity across the country, it’s not as easy to pack up your bags and leave. You’re at the mercy of the current market when it comes to how long it may take to sell your home.   Increased monthly payments if interest rates go up. Your interest rates are locked in for a

3 Things You Might Not Know About Title Insurance

3 Things You Might Not Know About Title Insurance

Posted By Andrea Robinson
September 01, 2022 Category: General

  Title insurance may be something that your lender tells you isn’t necessary - but it’s something you should think twice about NOT purchasing.    If you’re skeptical about whether or not you need title insurance, here are 3 things you may not know about title insurance - and that may help put those doubts you have about it to bed.   You can purchase it at any time   If you weren’t aware that title insurance was something you needed to look into when you purchased your home, don't worry - it’s not too late!   This happens a lot more often than we think, as not all lenders require homeowners to purchase it before they close on their homes.   You can still purchase a policy with a title insurance agency even if you’ve bought your home YEARS ago. All you need to do is get the process started.   It protects you both from the past AND the future   If you did buy title insurance when you closed on your home, then you’re protected for everything that may have happened BEFORE you got the keys to your home and that may come back to the surface years AFTER you are settled in. While an agency would have done some research to clear out anything that was being held against the title of your home before you got the keys, things can unfortunately still come up out of the blue.   It covers new construction   Believe it or not - even new construction can encoun

Should You Buy a Home During High Inflation?

Should You Buy a Home During High Inflation

Posted By Andrea Robinson
August 29, 2022 Category: General

  With inflation reaching a high that we haven't seen for quite some time, many people are cutting back on their spending. But for those of us who are shopping for homes and have cash on hand for a down payment, that doesn’t mean we need to put our dream home on the back burner until things look better!   Periods of high inflation like these create a ton of opportunities! Here are three reasons why you should buy a home during high inflation:   Spike in interest rates is influencing the housing market   While inflation may be at an all-time high, the Fed is working to bring it down. A direct result of that is that the real estate market is FINALLY starting to cool down.   So if you’re in the market for buying a home, you’re in luck! The supply of homes is at the highest it’s been since spring 2020 and the prices are coming down as well.   These two things paired together make it a lot easier to snag up a home - most homes are spending a lot more time on the market and have way fewer competing offers on them.   Appreciation of real estate never stops   While some homes have acquired way too much value over a short period (and are quickly losing it), these homes are still worth their fair market value. It’s only being corrected due to the bubble we had from such low-interest rates and homes being in such demand.   Over time, buying a home (or any piece of real estate) is AL

5 Tips for Keeping Cool Without Air Conditioning

5 Tips for Keeping Cool Without Air Conditioning

Posted By Andrea Robinson
July 20, 2022 Category: General

With every single summer getting hotter and heatwaves getting more frequent, living without air conditioning at home may be getting a bit more difficult than it was fifteen years ago.   However, there are a few things you can do to keep you and your family cool this Summer.   Take a cold shower or bath   If your body temperature is higher than normal, taking a cold shower or bath will help refresh your body and ease the discomfort of being too warm.   Use box fans   If you’re on a budget and can’t get an air conditioning unit just yet, box fans can be a great way to move air around your home and cool you down.    Close your blinds and curtains   When the sun is out, its rays could be making your home a lot warmer than it needs to be. Keeping your curtains and blinds closed will help keep the heat emitted from the sun out of your home. Eat frozen or icy foods   Another way to keep cool is to eat cool. Whether it’s frozen yogurt or homemade popsicles, eating frozen or icy foods can help you keep cool.   Use breathable sheets   Resort to using sheets for your bed that are breathable, such as cotton or linen. This will help make your nights less difficult in terms of managing heat and trying to sleep. Not only will these keep you cooler than sheets made out of synthetic materials, but they will also absorb your sweat a lot better.   Now that you have a few tip

How to Boost Your Curb Appeal During Summer

How to Boost Your Curb Appeal During Summer

Posted By Andrea Robinson
July 20, 2022 Category: General

If you’re looking for some projects to do around the house this summer or you’re looking to sell your home soon, boosting your curb appeal is a great idea.   Here are a few ways you can do so… Upgrade Your Landscaping There’s nothing that makes a home look like a beautiful home than one where the landscaping is taken care of. Make sure your weeds are plucked, your grass is cut, your hedges are trimmed and the flowers you planted look healthy and alive. Re-Pave or Re-Gravel Your Driveway A smooth driveway definitely makes your home look inviting if we compare it with a cracked and old driveaway. If you have the budget to do so, repaving or graveling your driveway is a great way to boost your curb appeal, given it’s one of the first things someone sees as they park their cars in your driveway.  Paint Your Trim, Shutters, or Porch If you want to give your home a facelift, a great way to do that is to paint anything that may have lost some of its colors over the seasons. Whether it’s your trim, shutter, or porch, give it a little refresh with some paint.  Add Some Lighting  If you want some extra curb appeal, make sure to add some lighting. With the hundreds of light fixtures to choose from, you can add some charm to any home. Plus, people will be able to admire your home during the evening as well thanks to the extra lighting.  Clean Your Windows If you go through a tough snowy winter and a rain-heavy spr

5 Backyard Trends for Summer 2022

5 Backyard Trends for Summer 2022

Posted By Andrea Robinson
June 28, 2022 Category: General

If you’re looking for new ways to bring life to your backyard, look no further!   In this blog post, we’ll cover 5 backyard trends for this Summer.    Now, let’s get to it….   Outdoor living spaces   With many people shifting to working remotely permanently, having an outdoor living space in your backyard where you can comfortably work is the newest and hottest trend.   Whether it be a comfortable seating area or a cabana, creating a space where you can be productive in your backyard is something many people are investing their money into.   Backyard escapes   Another trend that emerged during the pandemic and is still strong is creating an “escape” out of your backyard. Since the pandemic caused many people to cancel their trips, many made the most out of their home space, including their backyards.   Whether it be fancy outdoor furniture, waterworks, or an extravagant garden, making your backyard a space you can use to “escape” reality is a trend.   Fire features   If you have a pool, adding fire features to it and its surroundings is a backyard trend.    But the fire feature trend doesn’t stop there. Not only are people adding fire features to their pools, but they’re also adding it throughout their whole backyard. Whether it’s a fire pit or a few torches on the wall, fire is something you’ll be seeing a lot more o

3 Summer Events in CLE You MUST Attend

3 Summer Events in CLE You MUST Attend

Posted By Andrea Robinson
June 14, 2022 Category: General

Summer solstice may only be a few days away but the Summer heat is well here! If you’re looking for fun things to do with your family this summer in Cleveland, you’re in luck because we have 3 Summer events you must attend!   Visit Cleveland’s Botanical Garden With over 10 acres of gardens, Cleveland’s Botanical Garden is a winning summer activity no matter whether the sun is shining or the clouds are drooping.  Not only are there seven garden themes to explore, but children can participate in a ton of activities including scavenger hunts, storytelling, arts and crafts, and even a mystery costume tea party.   Visit the Progressive Field in Downtown Cleveland If you have any baseball fans in your family, this is the activity to do!  Home to the MLB’s Cleveland Indians, the Progressive Field baseball park is always welcoming visitors. You can book a tour to explore the behind-the-scenes of this stadium, such as the Sliders Field, Baseball Bat Slide, the interactive locker room, Step2 Zone, Hot Corner, and a ton more.   Enjoy Live Music Outdoors Lastly, if you want to participate in a Summer staple then you must attend the Blossom Music Center to hear the Cleveland Orchestra perform. While you may reserve seats in the pavilion, you can definitely show up with some folding chairs, and blankets, and spread out on the lawn.  Check out their schedule here.   If you try any of these Summer

5 Steps to Purchasing Your First Home

5 Steps to Purchasing Your First Home

Posted By Andrea Robinson
May 26, 2022 Category: General

  If you’ve wanted to enter the housing market for the past two years but couldn’t stomach the record-breaking price that homes were being sold at… Now is your chance!   With the Feds increasing the interest rate to try and correct the market and beat inflation, your mortgage may be a bit more expensive but homes are a bit more reasonably priced.   That being said, if it’s your first home that you’re about to buy, here are the 5 steps you should follow.  1. Save for a Downpayment   If you’re looking to buy a home, the first thing you should be doing is saving for a downpayment. Ideally, you would need to save a % percentage per your state’s laws but the more the better.    Another thing you should also consider at this stage is saving up for the costs that are associated with buying a home. Some of these costs include, but are not limited to, land transfer tax, lawyer fees, home inspection, and title insurance.   2. Get a Mortgage Pre-Approval   Once you have your money set straight, it’s time to go to the bank and find out how much they’re willing to lend you for your mortgage.   They will consider different aspects such as your income, credit, downpayment, and more to establish an amount.    3. Set Expectations   Once you know what dollar amount mortgage you can afford, it’s time you sit down and consider what your wishlist is. D

4 of the Latest Green Home Trends

4 of the Latest Green Home Trends

Posted By Andrea Robinson
May 12, 2022 Category: General

We all know that green is better, but what exactly can we do to make our homes greener? Here are 4 green home trends that you could maybe inspire yourself from…   Eco-friendly fabrics If you want to make sure you’re not contributing to the tons of fabric that end up in landfills or the pollution that the textile industry creates, turning to eco-friendly fabrics will do the trick. Whether it is organic cotton curtains or bamboo bed sheets, there are tons of eco-friendly fabrics being used these days for textiles in your home.    Smart technology If you can save both on your electricity bill and your environmental footprint, would you do it?! If you answered yes, then investing in smart technology may be something for you to check into!  Lots of smart home tech these days can turn up and down your air conditioning and heating when necessary, making it easier to avoid wasting energy.   Thrifting Want unique or one-of-a-kind items in your home? Then thrifting may be for you. If you’re looking to decorate your home, thrifting allows you to pick a gently loved item and give it a new home without making a huge environmental impact.  So c’mon, give things a second life!   Non-Toxic Materials Did you know that there are toxins in the paint you buy for your walls and in the plywood used to build your home? These days, there are more green and environmentally-friendly brands that exist that aren’t as

4 Spring Activities to Do in the Greater Cleveland Area

4 Spring Activities to Do in the Greater Cleveland Area

Posted By Andrea Robinson
April 29, 2022 Category: General

Spring has sprung in Cleveland which means we are swapping our evening Netflix binge sessions with some fun outside activities to take advantage of the beautiful spring weather. If you’re looking for things to do with your family in the Greater Cleveland Area, look no further! Here are three spring events we’re certain you’ll have a blast at…   Horse and Canal Boat Ride at Canal Fulton If you are a horse lover and want to try out something new and exciting, this activity may be it! Head over to the historical canal Fulton and get to enjoy either a horse-pulled ride or a canal boat ride. During these rides, you will get to learn all about the history of the area.   Hiking Trails If you really want to enjoy nature and the crisp spring air, grab a pair of sneakers and hit a hiking trail! Whether you are a more experienced hiker or you’re looking for a paved path, the trails at Ohio’s state or Metropark will do just the trick. You can check them out, here.   Outdoor Gardens As flowers are blooming, visiting outdoor gardens may just be another great activity to do on a Sunday afternoon. Click here for a list of outdoor gardens and arboretums across Northeast Ohio.    Museum Visits While we hope for the best and want to enjoy the spring weather, we may have a few rainy days. If that’s the case, don’t worry! You can visit one of the many museums we have here! You can either go see historical

3 Things That Can Happen If You Don't Have Title Insurance

3 Things That Can Happen If You Dont Have Title Insurance

Posted By Andrea Robinson
April 21, 2022 Category: General

Buying a title insurance policy is often a purchase that a lot of homeowners consider skipping out on. But in our experience, a title dispute can cost you a lot more than just your peace of mind and sanity. Here are three things that can happen if you don’t have title insurance. You can lose your home Believe it or not, someone may try to claim that the home you live in is theirs. And it happens a lot more often than you think. Whether it be through a divorce and the ex-partner didn’t know the home was sold and is trying to regain it back, or someone who inherited the house based on a will from the previous owner, all types of situations are seen. If you don’t have the proper title insurance, you risk losing your case against these people who are claiming that the home you purchased is theirs, making it highly probable you can lose your home.   You can be liable for liens When someone is owed money, they may put a lien on someone’s home. And whether or not the person who owes the money still lives in and owns that house, the person who put the lien still wants to get paid. By not purchasing a title insurance policy for your new home, you risk incurring the cost of those liens and have to pay them out-of-pocket. Plus, purchasing title insurance would’ve done an initial search for liens in the first place, which would've helped avoid the whole situation altogether.    Lose part of your property due to an encroachment

3 Easy DIY Easter Crafts for Kids

3 Easy DIY Easter Crafts for Kids

Posted By Andrea Robinson
April 15, 2022 Category: General

Easter is right around the corner, which means that your kiddos are most likely going to be spending a long weekend at home with you.   Here are three easy and fun Easter-themed craft ideas for your kids to bring out their inner creatives and keep them busy! Paper Handprint Bunnies     Source: onelittleproject.com   This one is extremely easy to do and creates little to no mess.   Simply ask your kids to select a piece of colorful construction paper, help them draw the outline of their hands, and cut out the paper.   From there, give your kiddos a few colorful crayons so they can draw the bunnies. Let them get creative!   Paper Plate and Cotton Balls Bunny Source: gluedtomycraftsblog.com   For this craft project, you will need some cotton balls, construction paper, and some white liquid glue.   If your kiddos are young and may need help cutting out the right shapes for the bunny ears, nose, and mouth out of the construction paper, help them out!   Afterward, they can start gluing the cotton balls to the paper plate. Then, they’ll need to attach the bunny ears to the plate and add the bunny’s eyes and nose.   Egg Carton Spring Flowers     Source: iheartartsncrafts.com   While this craft project may be a bit messier, it’s definitely a favorite among kids!   You will need an empty egg carton box, Easter-themed paint colors, fun straws, a few pompoms, a

What to Expect as a Homebuyer This Spring

What to Expect as a Homebuyer This Spring

Posted By Andrea Robinson
March 30, 2022 Category: General

Spring is the best time to buy a home, but the thing is… All buyers think so, too. Therefore, competition tends to be at its highest during the Spring. Here are a few things you can expect when house-hunting during the Spring season and how you can prepare for them. 1. Prepare for bidding wars When supply is low and demand is high, you can expect that bidding wars will happen. This means you should discuss with your representation ahead of time about what you feel comfortable with when it comes to the offer you’re presenting and what “deal sweeteners” you can throw in to make your offer seem more attractive within the pool of offers sellers have to choose from. 2. Expect lower-inventory Not only is the current real estate market an extremely hot seller's market due to the low-interest rates, but it’s also the case due to the low inventory. That being said, you won’t find yourself with multiple options to choose from where there’s a lot of wiggle room for negotiations.  3. Be flexible What we mean here by "be flexible" is to be ready to make amendments to your wish list. While you would like to have a pool already in the backyard, you may not find it. While you may want to move into the home you’re purchasing as quickly as possible, you may not be able to. Simply keep an open mind and know that you may need to bend a bit when it comes to what you may want. 4. Get pre-approved If you want to avoid the

5 Spring Home Decor Trends

5 Spring Home Decor Trends

Posted By Andrea Robinson
March 30, 2022 Category: General

  Spring has sprung and the urge to redecorate our homes to make it feel like a new beginning is strong among all of us! Here are a few spring home decor trends you can easily hop onto, without breaking the bank or taking on a major renovation project. Texture Believe it or not, sleek white marble for literally everything in our home is slowly making its way out of style. If you want to give your living room a trendy makeover, add some texture! An inexpensive and easy way to do this is with pillows, throws, and rugs. Simply head over to Home Goods and you have tons of options to choose from.  Earth tones If you’re looking for another trend to participate in, earth tones are all the rave these days. Not only is it fun to get in on a trend, but this trend is going to relax you. Given that the earth tones are associated with nature, you’ll quickly see that turning towards these tones will help create a relaxing atmosphere in your home.  You can incorporate earth tones through wall art, paintings,  wall paint colors, and any textiles (such as throws, pillows, and rugs). Greenery Can’t wait for the flowers to bloom and for the grass to turn green? Neither can we! Thankfully, a huge trend this year is indoor plants!  Add some greenery into your home with indoor plants that are easy to maintain and keep healthy.   Landscape Art This season, it’s all about nature! If you have any pieces of art on your walls, swappin

Your Ultimate Spring Cleaning Checklist

Your Ultimate Spring Cleaning Checklist

Posted By Andrea Robinson
March 15, 2022 Category: General

Spring is here and while that means we can swap our Winter coats for our light Spring puffer coats, it also means we need to clean up whatever mess Winter left us with.   Here’s a list of things around your house you should definitely add to your Spring Cleaning checklist:   Outdoors   Clean your windows from the outside Clean your outdoor furniture such as patio furniture, umbrellas, etc Remove or trim any dead tree branches Clean your gutters and downspouts Wash your deck’s floorboards Scrub down your front door, side door, and garage doors Rake and fertilize your grass to prep it for the summer Wash your fence   Kitchen   Wipe walls Degrease the kitchen drains Dust high surfaces such as the top of your fridge and microwave Degrease your backsplash Defrost your freezer and clean it Get rid of old or expired food in the freezer, fridge, and pantry Deep clean your countertops Deep clean your fridge Deep clean the inside of your cabinets   Living room   Dust and polish your furniture Put your blankets and pillows into the washing machine Vacuum your sofa Dust your blinds and curtains Wash your windows from the inside Dust and clean your ceiling fans Dust electronics and other gadgets Disinfect your remote controls and other gadgets   Office   Sort and throw away paperwork you don’t need anymore Disinfect your keyboard and mouse Dust

Staging Your Home to Sell FAST

Staging Your Home to Sell FAST

Posted By Andrea Robinson
February 25, 2022 Category: General

While we may still be in a hot seller's market right now, the market is starting to cool down in certain parts of the country. Especially with the feds announcing a hike in interest rates throughout 2022!   While it doesn’t mean it will make your home more difficult to sell, it will mean that the craziness we’ve witnessed since March 2020 will slowly die off. Therefore, homes in all states and prices won’t necessarily sell at the same ease they’ve been selling for the past few months.   If you want to ensure your home sells quickly regardless of the market’s state, any real estate professional would recommend one thing: stage your home!   Not only does staging your home give a “WOW” Factor to buyers and make the sale happen quicker, but it also influences the price your home sells at.   Now, let’s go through a few staging tips together!   Invest in Curb Appeal   First impressions are extremely important, and one of the first few things someone sees about your home is the front yard! Make sure your grass is cut, bicycles or toys aren’t lying on the lawn, etc. Curb appeal can make or break a first impression!   Get rid of clutter   We all know how clutter can make us go into a cleaning frenzy… Imagine how buyers feel when they walk into a stranger’s home and face that same amount of clutter!   Remember that clutter may be an eyesore, but the bi

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