ACHIEVE MORNING PERSON STATUS

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Morning Routine

Ever wish you could become one of those rare morning people? The ones that wake with a start, feeling refreshed and energized. The ones that get in that morning workout or wrap up some work before many of us even hit the snooze button for the first time. Here are five tips to help you achieve that early bird status!

  1. Create a morning schedule. Physically write down the things you’d like to complete in the morning and set a time for each. Then stick with it. Once you force yourself out of bed early one or two weeks consistently, you’ll find it gets easier and easier to do.
  2. Let the light in. Whether natural or artificial, light tells your brain its time to get up and get going. If your room lacks large windows where you can open the blinds up, consider investing in a timed lamp or alarm clock with a light.
  3. Prep and eat breakfast. Although there are many of us who chose the skip breakfast, it is key to perking up your energy in the morning. Try prepping protein-focused meals the night before or grab a yogurt or fruit and try to consume it right after you wake.
  4. Get your body moving. Whether it’s a short walk around your neighborhood or a rigorous 5:30 am spin class, getting your blood pumping will help wake up your body and has a ton of other benefits, like stress and anxiety reduction.
  5. Feed your mind. Stimulate your brain and do something you enjoy first thing in the morning. Try reading a favorite book, catching up on the news, doing daily meditation, or setting intentions.
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!

TIPS FOR STORING WINE AT HOME

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Love Wine?

Learn some tips on storing wine!

If you are a big wine connoisseur or just saving a few bottles to crack open on special occasions, it’s important to understand how best to store them safely until you’re ready to partake. Follow the guidelines below!

 

Temperature

To ensure each wine bottle maintains the proper flavor and aroma, storing it at the correct temperature is essential. Regardless if it is red, white, or sparkling, storing your bottles at 53°F to 57°F is most ideal. Keeping your bottles in a room where the temperature is much warmer than that may cause the flavor to become flat. Keep your wine in the dark and away from direct UV rays as much as you can to protect the wine’s flavor.

Moisture

Controlling the humidity in the room is important if you plan to store bottles for more than a couple of years. The ideal humidity for storage is between 50 to 75 percent and anything below that could cause the corks to dry out, letting air seep into the bottle.

Positioning

Generally, it is advised to store wine bottles on their sides. This allows the wine to stay up against the cork which should aid in keeping it from drying out. However, if you don’t plan to store the wine for long or if the bottle has a screw top or plastic cork, this is not required for safe storage.

Timing

Not all wine is designed to have a long shelf life or be aged. Make sure you know what the winemaker’s intention was for that particular bottle. It is always better to open it a little early and enjoy it!

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!

 

5 Painting Mistakes to Avoid

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Painting Tips

5 Painting Mistakes to Avoid

DIY interior painting can be a money-saver if you know what you’re doing. While saving a few dollars is definitely worth trying out painting yourself, it is important to avoid mistakes often made in the process. Here is how to avoid them!

Mistake #1: Not Using The Correct Applicator

If you are willing to pay for premium paint, you should be willing to invest in a good applicator. Invest in good brushes or rollers up front to avoid hair on the wall or lumps of roller lint under the paint.

Mistake #2: Not Preparing Correctly

You always want to do repair work first so that your walls are smooth, clean, dry and free of loose debris before you begin painting. A repair will be much less obvious if it is done before a new coat of paint!

Mistake #3: Overextending Your Brush Dips

One of the most frequently made mistakes by DIYers is that they often continue applying a dip of paint until the brush or roller is dry. When you overextend each dip, the paint can dry in the brush bristles, and the fabric on rollers can mat down. You want to maintain a smooth line of paint. Once you can see the paint starting to break up, it’s time to re-dip.

Mistake #4: Not Taking A Break

It is ok to take a step back and review your work. Get a glass of water, have some lunch and take a break. When you allow yourself to get fatigued, your work can become sloppy.

Mistake #5: Allowing Paint To Dry Out

Touch-ups are not ideal if your paint has dried out. To extend the life of water-based paint, place a piece of clear plastic wrap directly on the surface of the paint, then reseal the container. For oil-based paint, add about a half-inch of water on the surface before resealing.

Bottomline, do some research or ask some questions at your local store before you get started.

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!

 

Design Trends for 2021

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2021 Design Trends

What are the design trends for 2021?

It is hard to believe that 2020 is almost over. Many of us are thinking “Thank Goodness!” With a new year approaching quickly, now is the time to start thinking about how you want to update your space in 2021. If you’re wondering how the design trends are looking for the new year, here is a great place to start!

Less Is More

Take the time to check each space in your home and ensure your decor is intentional. Make sure all of your belongings have a place and that they all serve a purpose.

Scandinavian and Japanese style

Both cultures celebrate minimalism while also encouraging functionality. With white shades dominating spaces in this style, you will also find natural woods and materials in large spaces that are open and bright.

Personalization

One of the most marked trends in interior design is focused on the personalization of your space. Take into account what you already love when creating spaces in your home without worrying about what others consider stylish or up-to-date. Let your creativity shine through your space.

A Touch of Color

Neutrals are great in most settings, but a pop of color allows you to add personality to your space. Yellow shades add warmth while blue shades give a sharpness and can be used to enhance certain elements of a room. If you want to introduce a little color, use colors inspired by nature.

It is also a great opportunity to clean out areas as you go. Donate, give away, sell or possibly refurbish. Have fun and enjoy your space!

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!

 

Who Doesn’t Love An Organized Pantry?

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With more people staying at home and avoiding crowds, a lot of homeowners are turning to home prepping to cut back on trips to the store and avoid shortages. Unfortunately, many people find themselves overwhelmed. Sometimes it is hard to know exactly what to stock up on. And once the pantry is fully stocked and prepped, maintaining it, and finding what you need among all the other things, can be difficult. Organization is a key part of successful prepping, so if you want to have an effective pantry, here are a few organizational tips to keep in mind.

What Should You Store?

First things first: What should you store in your pantry? Obviously, you want things that are shelf-stable and will last a while. Pick up or prepare staples like canned vegetables, canned fruits, crushed tomatoes and dry goods like pasta, rice, and beans. Add cooking supplies like cooking oil, flour, and cornmeal, plus sweeteners such as sugar and honey. Beyond that, round things out according to your family’s tastes. This is where you add your taco shells, your pasta sauces, cereals, popcorn, condiments and dressings, canned meats, and anything else that you know your family uses regularly. If you have pets, you can also set aside a section of your pantry for pet food as well.

Organizing for Easy Access

When you start organizing your pantry, do not just stick things wherever you can find a space for it. Take everything out, clean the area so that you are starting fresh, then put things back in a reasonable and organized way. Group similar items, like different types of canned vegetables, together so that everything is easy to find. Avoid just shoving a bunch of things together to make more room, since that will cause confusion and make some of your items a lot harder to find when you are looking for them.

Label Everything

Place labels on your shelves once you have everything organized so you will know what goes where in the pantry. That does not mean that you must micromanage and label each individual type of item, of course; create categories like “Jelly” and “Vegetables” to simply mark the general area where those items go. If you want to be really efficient with your labeling, take the time (or recruit family members to help) and place an easy-to-read sticker or label on the top or front of each item, and write the expiration date on it for reference.

Remember FIFO

Where a lot of people run into problems is rotating stocked items as new items are bought or made. Keep the FIFO principle in mind as you restock your pantry: First In, First Out. New items should always go to the back, allowing the older items in the front to be used first. As you take items out of the pantry, move up the items behind them so that they are closer to the front and you have room to place things behind them later.

Shelving and Storage Additions

If you need to add shelving or other storage types to your pantry area, try to do so in a way that makes stocking and access easier. Standalone shelves that you can walk behind or rollout shelves that you can pull toward you make it a lot easier to place new items at the back, while sliding shelves or rotating units make it easy to reach stored items that otherwise might be hard to get to.

Emergency Storage

In general, your pantry should be filled with items that you are going to use and that will be rotated out over time. You should check expiration dates at least once or twice a year and move items about to expire to your main pantry, or use them for activities such as camping trips, hiking excursions or other adventures.

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!

 

 

Key Professionals in a Real Estate Transaction

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When you are buying or selling a home there are a number of individuals you will come in contact with.  Here are some of them:

  1. REALTOR® – A REALTOR® is a licensed real estate agent and a member of the National Association of REALTORS®.  They also belong to their state and local Associations of REALTORS®.
  2. Listing Agent – A listing agent or broker forms a legal relationship with the homeowner to sell the property.  The listing agent’s responsibility and fiduciary duties are to the seller.
  3. Buyer’s Agent – A buyer’s agent or broker works with the buyer to locate a suitable property and negotiate a successful home purchase.  The buyer’s agent’s responsibility and fiduciary duties are to the buyer.
  4. Home Inspector – A home inspector can be hired by the seller before they put their home on the market or by the buyer when an offer has been accepted.  The inspector provides a comprehensive analysis of a home’s major systems and components.
  5. Loan Officer – A loan officer is a representative of a bank or financial institution.  They help customers identify their borrowing options and help them understand the terms of the loan.  A seller should also meet with a lender before putting their home on the market so they know the “big picture” of their financial situation.
  6. Appraiser – An appraiser works on behalf of the lender and provides a market analysis of the subject property. An appraiser’s finding is subjective and combined with market data of sold properties within the surrounding neighborhood.
  7. Insurance Agent – An insurance agent helps a home buyer determine the coverage needed and finds the right insurance policy for the home.
  8. Real Estate Attorney – In some states, real estate closings can only be conducted by an attorney.  They can give advice on all legal aspects of a real estate transaction. Such as drafting and reviewing contracts, help with how to take title and assist with the closing process.
  9. Escrow/Closing Officer – An escrow or closing officer is a non-biased third party who works with all participants to facilitate a successful closing of a real estate transaction. At the closing, the closing officer will collect the purchase money funds from the buyer and settlement costs from each party.  The will prepare and record all necessary documents to transfer ownership of the property.
  10. Title Company – The title company will search the title and provide title insurance policies to produce clear property titles and enable the efficient transfer of real estate.

Get my free ebook…7 Home Seller Tips before You Sell.  Do you live in Northeastern Ohio/Cleveland area and want to know what your home is worth?  Find out Today.  Looking to find a home in the Greater Cleveland area, get the most up-to-date listing…Search Like an Agent.  Get my free-ebook…10 Things You Need to Know Before Buying a Home.  Was your home listed and it expired?  Get your free expired report on what went wrong and how to fix it!

I am here to help! Guiding You Every Step of the Way!

Improve Your Credit Score

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creditscore10 Tips to Improve Your Credit Score 

There are no quick fixes for improving your credit score but over time you can raise it by consistently managing your finances.

  1. Pay your bills on time – This is the best way to improve your score.  It is never to late, find a system (calendar, App) to keep you on track. If you are going to be late, don’t avoid your creditors keep in contact with them.
  2. Keep credit card balances low – High outstanding debt can pull down your score. Don’t max out your credit cards all the time.
  3. Check your credit report for accuracy – It is possible there may be inaccurate information on your credit report that can be easily cleared up.  It this is the case, then you should contact the three credit reporting agencies to get it corrected (TransUnion, Experian, Equifax)
  4. Pay off debt rather than moving it around – Consolidating your credit card debt onto one care or spreading it over multiple cards will not improve your score in the long run.  The most effective way to improve your score is by simply paying down the amount you owe.
  5. Keep your credit cards – manage them responsibly – In general, having credit cards and installments loans that you pay on time will raise your score.  Someone who has no credit cards tends to have a lower score than someone who has managed credit cards responsibly.
  6. Don’t open multiple accounts too quickly – Opening too many accounts in too short of a time period can look risky because you are taking on a lot of possible debt.  Too many inquiries can hurt your credit score.
  7. Don’t open accounts you do not need – This approach could backfire and actually lower your score.
  8. Don’t close an account to remove it from your record – It is a myth that closing an account removes it from your credit report. In fact, closing accounts can sometimes hurt your score.
  9. Shop for a loan within a short period of time – FICO scores distinguish between a search for a single loan and a search for many new credit lines based in part on the length of time over which recent requests for credit occur.  If you shop for too many loans over a long length of time this could hurt your score.
  10. Contact your creditors or see a legitimate credit counselor if you are having financial difficulties –  This won’t improve your score, but the sooner you start managing your finances well and making timely payments will improve your score overtime.

Get my free e-book 7 Home Seller Tips before You Sell.  Looking to find a home, get the most up to date listing…Search Like an Agent.  Do you live in Northeastern Ohio/Cleveland area and want to know what your home is worth?  Find out Today.

The secret to good gardening is . . . lasagna?


If you’re considering putting in a new garden and want to keep it as environmentally-friendly as possible, you might want to consider prepping the ground this year and plant next year.

Creating a great garden space can’t just happen overnight. Getting the soil ready for planting a garden takes some time, work, and organic matter to make some garden lasagna.

What is lasagna gardening?

Building your garden soil through a process similar to composting lies at the heart of lasagna gardening. Made popular two decades ago by a book written by Patricia Lanza called – what else? – “Lasagna Gardening.”

Rather than bringing in yards of soil, Lanza reasoned, you build the soil from the ground up by adding alternating layers of nitrogen-rich (green) and carbon-rich (brown) organic matter. The green layer can include grass clippings, kitchen compost, coffee grounds and herbivorous manure. The brown layer includes fallen leaves, straw, newspaper and even shredded cardboard. Each layer should be at least an inch thick.

Making garden lasagna

This is the perfect time of year to start your soil for a new garden. It will take about a year for your soil to be completely ready. The process is simple.

  1. Mark off your garden plot.
  2. Using a shovel, turn over the soil about a foot deep and break up the sod.
  3. Rake all your leftover leaves from the winter into the spot. Better yet, mulch them to create your first brown layer. Save a week’s worth of newspapers and add a bale of straw and you’ve got a pretty good first layer.
  4. Ask your neighbors to catch their first mow grass clippings to add to your first green layer. You may have to buy a couple of bags of manure to get enough to make a good layer.
  5. Don’t compress the layers. You want to make sure your lasagna is getting enough air and water to aid in the breakdown.
  6. PRO TIP: Don’t add more green than brown; your soil will turn acidic.
  7. You can make as few or as many layers as you want.
  8. When you get to the last layer, cover it in brown matter or soil.
  9. Water it down to start the process.
  10. Walk away – for a year – and let nature take its course.

It’s perfectly fine to plant in the decomposing mulch in the first year. By next year, the soil will be perfect.

Looking to buy or sell your home, visit my remax website…and remember I am only a phone call away. Jody Finucan, REALTOR  440 221-6383

Serving Lake County, Geauga County and Cuyahoga County and relocation services around the world.

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.

Prioritize

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.

Prepare

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.

Plan

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.

Proceed

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.

Perfect

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.