Get Your House Ready Now, Sell Later


Get your house ready now, sell later

Get Your Home Ready

  1. Embrace Spring Cleaning

Now is that special time of year when baseboards and ceiling fans finally get the attention they deserve. Details like these may seem tedious, but a pristine home is guaranteed to grab your buyer’s attention.


  1. Unleash the Power of Paint

Whether you redo an entire room, touch up some scuffs, or add some pizzazz to your outdoor planters, a paintbrush can revitalize your living space like a magic wand. Best of all, it’s fun for the whole family.


  1. Tile Around

From backsplashes to bathroom accents, tiling is a simple and affordable way to add value to your home. Just find a pattern you like and start putting the pieces together.


  1. Fix Your Fixtures

If you’ve been contemplating a new kitchen faucet or fresh set of shutters, give in to your impulses and install them yourself. In less than a weekend, you can add another upgrade for buyers to rave about.


  1. DIY Furniture

You don’t have to be a master carpenter to build some of your own furniture. The internet is loaded with tutorials for everything from headboards to closet shelves. All you need are a few easy-to-find materials.


List inspired by tips from KW Research and the National Association of REALTORSⓇ.
Good luck with your home improvements, and feel free to send us your before and after photos!

Great Lakes Home Team is here to help you with your real estate questions or needs. We have helped so many families sell their home or find their dream home. Do you want to know how much is your home worth is worth, Click here?
Get your FREE Booklet – 10 Things Every Homebuyer Needs to Know. Get started on the correct path to finding your Dream Home!



The art of cleaning quickly

Have you ever been relaxing on the weekend or after work and thought, “I really need to clean this place up?” At that very moment, the phone rings and it’s your friend/Mom/sister who wants to pop by for a moment to return that thing they borrowed/have coffee/talk about what’s happening. And they just won’t take no for an answer.

The panic clean doesn’t have to be a frenzied battle. There are some steps you have to take to make your home look presentable quickly and efficiently.


You don’t need to give your entire home a deep cleaning in 10 minutes but you don’t need to. Focus on the rooms where you and your guest are likely to spend the most time: bathroom, kitchen and living room.


If you are a professional procrastinator or cleaning avoidance master, you should gather what you’ll need into one caddy: cloths, magic erasers, spray glass cleaner, and all-purpose cleaner. Keep it at the ready for just such an occasion and stash it under the kitchen sink.


Use a systematic approach to guarantee that all areas of each room are cleaned without having to retrace your steps. Clean clockwise starting at the left of the door and go from top to bottom.


Spray down toilet bowls, countertops, stovetop and sinks first to give it time to loosen surface stains.

Pick up

After you’ve sprayed everything down, take a couple of minutes to fill an empty laundry basket with all the random stuff lying in the living room and entryway. Keep a box handy for collecting mail and magazines separate. Dust the surfaces as you go.

Polish the bathroom

Focus on the toilet, sink and mirror. You’ve already sprayed the toilet and sink; wipe them down and then work on the mirror. Store bathroom products in a small basket under the sink, just while your guest is there.

Plates and bowls

Time to make the kitchen presentable. Wipe down the surfaces you’ve already sprayed, then put all the dirty dishes in the dishwasher if you haven’t had time to run a load. Don’t worry, you’re only using it for temporary storage.


The details will make it look like you didn’t just spend 15 minutes frantically cleaning. Arrange magazines and fluff pillows and put them neatly on the couch and chairs to give your room a finished look.

Power vacuum

Running the vacuum will not only catch any dust that fell on the floor, it is the best way to give the most noticeable thing in your home – the carpet – a quick refresh.

All you need is some planning and preparation and 10-15 minutes to give the major rooms in your home a quick cleaning to make it look more presentable for your guest.

Have a question about real estate? Looking to buy a home?  Looking to sell your home?  I am here to help. Visit my RE/MAX website for more information.

How to prevent frozen pipes and what to do if a pipe bursts

When the temperature reaches freezing, this can cause the water inside pipes to freeze. As the water freezes, it expands causing the pressure inside the pipes to increase. Frozen pipes is a minor inconvenience; a pipe that bursts is a homeowner’s nightmare.

Water lines are particularly susceptible to freezing when the temperature outside gets cold very quickly because the warmth from your heating system is unable to keep up with the demand the suddenly cold temperatures bring. Homes in more temperate climates are also susceptible when the temperature dips below freezing. Because they are typically warmer, water pipes may not be insulated as well as they should be.

Preventing frozen pipes

  • Insulate pipes, especially those close to outside walls, attics or crawl spaces where the chance of freezing is greatest.
  • Seal any air leaks near the pipes.
  • If there are water supply lines in your garage, keep the garage doors closed.
  • Always remember to drain, disconnect and store garden hoses.
  • Close inside valves supplying outdoor hose bibs.
  • Open the cabinet doors in kitchen and bathroom – this lets warmer air circulate around the plumbing.
  • Maintain thermostat at 55 degrees or higher when you are out of town.
  • If you get a cold snap, turn on both hot and cold faucets near outside walls allowing a small trickle of water to run during the night.
  • Identify the locations of shutoff valves so that you are prepared to stop the flow of water as soon as possible when a pipe bursts.

If pipes freeze:

  • Thaw a frozen pipe using a good hair dryer. However, avoid using a hair dryer around standing water.
  • Heat water on the stove, soak towels in the hot water and wrap them around the pipe.
  • When thawing a pipe, start nearer to the faucet and work your way back.
  • Turn on the faucet so water can drip out as the ice melts.
  • If you have one frozen pipe, chances are that you may have more. Check all other faucets in your home.

If pipes burst:

  • Shut off the water at the main valve.
  • Take precautions to avoid electrical shock from being in or near standing water.
  • If the break is in a hot water pipe, the valve on top of the water heater should be closed.
  • Call a plumber.
  • Take inventory of any damaged property.
  • Contact your insurance agent to help you locate an emergency water mitigation specialist who can dry out the damaged area quickly.

Looking to buy a home or sell your home, visit my RE/MAX website for a home search or great information.

Safety tips for fireplaces

If you’re in the market for a new home, no doubt you made the list of features that you want in your dream home. For many, a fireplace is one of those must haves.

Of course, there are several reasons to want a fireplace. From a practical standpoint, it is a cost-effective way to provide heat during the winter. It becomes a focal point for the gathering of friends and family, lending ambiance to the room it is in. At this time of year, it becomes a place for many homeowners to hang decorations during the holiday season.

There is, of course, a price to be paid for the warmth and memories. Every homeowner has to keep safety issues at top of mind when it comes to having a fireplace. You’ll keep your fireplace safe and operating properly and safely if you keep these safety tips in mind:

Keep it clean

Depending upon how often you use your fireplace, it is recommended that chimneys be swept at least once a year. Find a certified chimney sweep to come out in the late fall or early winter to remove soot and debris.

Check for damage

In addition to cleaning, most chimney sweeps should inspect the chimney structure for cracks, loose bricks or missing mortar when they are on the roof. In addition, chimney liners should be checked for damage.

Cap the chimney

In order to keep debris, birds and small animals from entering the chimney, a cap is placed on the chimney. The cap also needs to be examined for damage when the sweep is there.

What you burn makes a difference

Hardwoods include dense woods such as oak, hickory, ash and some fruit woods. “Seasoned” implies that the wood has been split and stored to dry for at least six months. Green woods and soft woods produce a flammable by-product called creosote, which can build up in the chimney and become flammable.

Building it right

Small fires generate less smoke and less creosote build-up. Additionally, a fire that is too large or too hot can damage the chimney. Logs should be placed at the rear of the fireplace on a metal grate. Don’t use flammable liquids to start the fire.

Use a spark guard

Even seasoned wood can crackle and pop. You can prevent embers from shooting out of the firebox with a mesh metal screen or glass fireplace doors.

Outdoor holiday decorating safety tips for homeowners

Thanksgiving weekend is the perfect opportunity to decorate the landscape and exterior of your home for the holidays. If you plan to decorate this year, it’s important to remember that doing so presents some fire and safety hazards.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), about 12,500 people go to emergency rooms to be treated for injuries, such as falls, cuts, and shocks related to holiday lights, decorations, and Christmas trees. Accidents do happen; but many are preventable if we just take some time and a few precautions while decorating outside.

1. Only use lighting sets and extension cords that are specifically made for outdoor use. They’ll have the Underwriters’ Laboratories (UL) or Factory Mutual (FM) label.

2. Know how many sets can be strung together. It will usually be printed somewhere on the package, on a tag on the cord itself, or on a paper within the package. Usually, it’s 3.

3. Before you start, check all light sets for fraying, aging, and heat damage and throw out sets that show any signs of damage. Always unplug lights before changing bulbs, replacing fuses or making any other repairs.

4. Always test your light sets before starting. Replacing broken and burnt-out bulbs is much easier on the ground than on a ladder or roof.

5. Connect sets of lights to an extension cord before plugging the cord into an outlet. Be careful not to overload extension cords.

6. Use hooks or insulated staples to hold lights in place. Do not use nails or tacks.

7. Never pull or tug lights to remove or disconnect them.

8. To avoid potential shocks, plug all outdoor electric decorations into circuits with GFI (ground fault circuit interrupter) protection.

9. Make sure to observe all safety precautions for the ladder. Know the weight limit restrictions. Avoid contact with overhead power lines when setting up your ladder. Make sure that it is set on solid ground. Have someone working with you to steady the ladder as you climb up or down.

10. Keep any connections between light sets and extension cords dry by wrapping them with electrical tape or plastic.

11. Check the wire on the Christmas lights occasionally to make sure that they’re not warm to the touch.

12. Always turn off all Christmas lights and decorations before going to bed or leaving the house. You can hook up a simple timer so you don’t have to worry about forgetting.

For more holiday decorating safety tips, check the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission website. (link to

Holiday party cleanup tips

The holidays aren’t quite in full swing, and that means it’s time to start planning for holiday parties. As you probably already know, when you host a holiday get-together, the worst part is the cleaning, of course.

Here are some tips to help you with the chore that you face after the party.

Clean up the prep work

Starting with an empty dishwasher is always a good idea. Make sure to clean up the pre-party prep work before the party begins. As the party progresses you can load at least some items in your dishwasher. Out of sight, out of mind.

Keep the boxes

If you buy holiday dishes, glasses and tableware, make sure to keep the boxes handy for quick cleanup and storage.

Less is more

When it comes to party decorations, keep it to a minimum. Remember that banners, balloons, streamers and centerpieces add to what you have to clean up and put away later.

Cutting down on cleaning

If you plan to cook anything in the oven, line your pans with parchment paper and you can avoid having to scrub them after your guests leave.


Sure, it’s not as elegant, but if you’re having an informal gathering, using disposable utensils and dishware means you’ll have more going into the trash and recycling, but less going into the dishwasher.

Party favors/decorations

If you choose decorations that also serve as party favors, your guests will take them home!

Pick up while you party

Stay on top of the cleaning as the party goes on, but not to the point where you’re not able to be social and enjoy your guests. Speaking of guests, one or two will ALWAYS volunteer to help you.

Plan for spills

Cleaning spills as soon as they occur – and they will – is important to keep them from setting in. A solution of white vinegar, dish soap and water in a spray bottle is a good, all-purpose cleaner.

Water rings

No matter how many coasters you have, you’ll still end up with a water ring or two. Rub a dab of non-gel toothpaste onto the spot then buff with a clean cloth.

Tissue paper

Help prevent wrinkles when you travel; save gift-bag tissue to separate layers of clothing in the suitcase.


Save ribbon to tie clusters of silverware or hang ornaments.

How to Prevent Frozen Pipes

You wouldn’t want to be one of the quarter million families that deal with frozen water pipes that burst each winter.  A single three millimeter crack in a pipe can dump up to 250 gallons of water in your home in a single day causing thousands of dollars of damage.

Bundle up your pipes – Take time to insulate exposed pipes in your crawl spaces, garage and attic.  These pipes are more vulnerable to freezing.

Seal the crack – Look for air leaks near your pipes.  Even a tiny crack can cause pipes to be exposed to cold air and could lead to a frozen pipe.

Put your garden house away – Disconnect the garden house and shut off the indoor valve before winter.

Bump up the thermostat –  If you let the indoor temperature drop below 65 degrees, your exterior wall pipes are a high risk of freezing.

Protect your home when you are gone  – If you are selling your home and have already moved or are going out of town, be sure to check on the home often.  If you will be gone for an extended time you may want to consider getting your home winterized.

Taking the proper measures up front can prevent and protect your home from a potential very costly situation(Source AAA magazine)

Have a questions? Want to know is going on in your market? I am only a phone call away!


Enrich your garden and landscape soil by making leaf mold

Building soil is important to any home gardener. One of the best ways to build soil is by creating leaf mold, which is a type of compost that uses only leaves and nothing else.

Different from composting, making leaf mold is a cold process, done primarily by fungus while composting relies on bacteria for decomposition. With composting, you’d add green material (grass clippings, manure, kitchen scraps, etc.) In addition to adding different nutrients, it also adds heat.

This process recreates the environment of the forest floor in a small space and results in a nutrient and mineral rich soil additive you can use in a number of ways.

How to make leaf mold

The other way this process differs from compost is that you can just throw the leaves in and leave them alone. You don’t have to mix or turn the compost periodically to promote decomposition.

The first thing you’ll need to do is build a wire mesh bin to hold the leaves. Put the leaves in and soak them. You can shred the leaves in order to accerlerate the process. Moisture is important to helping the leaves break down. If the bin is too dry, you can cover with a tarp to retain moisture. You can also weave slats from old window blinds into the mesh or line it with sheet plastic to help retain the moisture. If you live in a cooler climate, the process can take as long as three years. In warmer climates, it can take as little as nine months.

Over the course of a year, your leaf pile will have lost about half of its volume. Open the bin and give the leaves a stir to get some aeration. Move the bin over and start the process again. By the third year, the first pile that you created should be broken down, black and crumbly. It should smell like you’re walking in the woods after a rainstorm. It’s now ready for use and you can start a new pile on that spot.

Another method is to just store your leaves in lawn bags. Stuff the bags full of leaves and wet them down before closing the bag. Use a garden fork to poke a number of holes in the bags to let some air in. Mark the bags and put them in some out-of-the-way nook of the yard.

Leaf mold is not only organic and environmentally friendly, it is also one of the most effective ways to create the nutrient-rich soil essential for growing vegetables, flowers and shrubs.

Things To Do Near Mentor, Ohio – October 2013

Everyone enjoys the weather during the fall in Ohio, so why not take advantage of it? There is a plethora of thing to do near Mentor, Ohio, that will allow you to enjoy the fall with your friends and family. Whether you’re looking for a physical activity or scary Halloween fun for the whole family, Mentor is the place to be.  Here are a five events going on near you this month.

Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon

When: October 6, 8:00 a.m.

Admission: $95

Calling all runners – the Rock’n’Roll Marathon series is coming to Cleveland! Sign up now to run an exhilarating 13.1 miles through the heart of Cleveland. The cost of registration covers an official t-shirt, goodie bag, refreshments, a finishers medal and live bands along the course.

Monster Mash – Boo Scary Dinner Theatre

When: October 11 – 13, 7:30 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.

Admission: $50

Come on out to Old Firehouse Winery for a Monster Mash Dinner Theatre. Watch as classic movie monsters come to life – or dead life – in this music-filled comic romp of epic distortion. Miss the rush and reserve your tickets early to ensure you’ll have a seat.

Howl-o-ween Party for Dogs

When: October 18, 5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Admission: Free

Do you ever feel bad about going out to have a good time and leaving your poor dog alone at home? Well, worry no more! Let your pet enjoy the Halloween season along with you at the Howl-o-ween Party for Dogs. Dress your K9 up in the best costume and bring them out to the Mentor Dog Park to enjoy fun with other pups.

Family Scarecrow Day

When: October 26, 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Admission: Free

Enjoy the Halloween season with your family and head out to Mentor Lagoons Nature Preserve and Marina for the Family Scarecrow Day. Work together to make your own scarecrow, which you will be able to take home at the end of the day. Afterward, you will be able to take a hayride and enjoy some roasted marshmallows.

Boo at the Zoo

When: October 17- 20 & 24 – 27, 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Admission: TBA

Bring the kids out to the Cleveland Zoo for some spooktacular Halloween fun. The event is designed for a younger audience, so if your children are young it won’t be scary. There will be delight on every corner from magic shows to a Monster Mash dance party, your children will leave feeling festive and happy.

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Things To Do In Mentor, Ohio – September 2013

Mentor is a moderately sized city, with more than 50,000 residents and 1,700 businesses calling it home. Mentor’s strategic location near State Route 2 and Interstate 90 means the bustling city of Cleveland, Ohio is less than 30 minutes away, offering residents of Mentor close proximity to various arts, culture and sports venues. But, residents don’t need to go as far as Cleveland to find fun and entertainment for the whole family! The northern border of Mentor lies along the shore of Lake Erie, the city boasts of an extensive Bikeway System of walking and biking trails, and residents have access to an impressive system of parks, swimming pools, skate parks, nature preserves, ice arenas, and more!

Aside from these favorite year-round options for entertainment in Mentor, the city also hosts numerous events and festivals. Here are some of the events that Mentor will be hosting this September, so mark your calendars!

Farmer’s Market

When: Friday Septmber 6, 2013,  3:00 PM – 7:00 PM

Where: Civic Center Park, 8500 Civic Center Boulevard, Mentor, OH

What: By popular demand, the city extends its market to every week during the growing season. Fresh produce, honey, baked goods and other food products are available for purchase.

Madness in Mentor Pickleball Tournament

When: Saturday & Sunday September 7 – 8, 2013

Where: Civic Center Park Pickleball Courts, 8600 Munson Rd., Mentor

What: Mentor Recreation Department will host it’s first pickleball tournament, attracting players from across Northeast Ohio, in support of this new and upcoming sport! Men’s, women’s and co-ed divisions will have beginner (2.5 – 3.0), intermediate (3.5 – 4.0) and advanced (4.5 – 5.0) matches. First matches will be played at 9 a.m. both days. Fee is $20 for registration in one division, $10 for each additional division. Participants should bring their own racquet. Participants will receive their match times and more information from tournament director one week in advance. Snacks and t-shirt included in registration fee. Registration deadline is Friday, August 30.

Opening Reception Dorothy McNamara Maloney Art Show

When: Friday September 13, 2013,  7:00 PM – 8:30 PM

Where: Mentor Senior Center, 8484 Munson Road, Mentor, OH

What: Accepted work for this annual art competition is on display through October 2.

Just Kids Stuff Garage Sale

When: Saturday September 14, 2013 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Where: Eleanor B. Garfield, 7967 Mentor Avenue, Mentor, OH

Where: It’s just kids stuff for buying or selling. Reserve a 10×10 table in advance, or set-up your own the day of the event. Call 974-5720 for more details.

Visit The James A. Garfield National Historic Site

When: Any time!

Where: The James A. Garfield National Historic Site, 8095 Mentor Avenue, Mentor, Ohio 44060

What: In 1876, Congressman James A. Garfield purchased a small farm in the charming Village of Mentor, Ohio. Too small to comfortably accommodate the General, his wife, their five children and his mother, Garfield immediately began to add large additions around the original structure. By the summer of 1880, work on the house was complete, just in time to welcome thousands of visitors to Mentor. The James A. Garfield National Historic Site is the restored home of our 20th President. The home, visitor center and grounds are owned and operated by the National Park Service.

For more information on Mentor, Ohio and upcoming events click here.

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