Holiday Home Safety

The month of December may be “the most wonderful time of the year,” but it can also be the most dangerous time of the year for homeowners. The household décor that makes the holidays jolly also poses a great threat of fire and other dangers. Protect your house and family this season by following these safety tips.

Holiday Lighting

Because string lights are usually only used for one month out of the year, they are often thrown into a cramped box at the beginning of January and stuffed away in the attic until they are needed again nearly 11 months later. Treating your lights like this can lead to frayed wires, cracked sockets and kinked cords, all of which can cause lights to catch fire. Be sure to check your lights each year for these issues to avoid using faulty lights. If you need to purchase new lights, consider buying LED lights. Not only are they more energy efficient, but they also don’t get as hot as traditional holiday lights, reducing the risk of fire.

When displaying your lights, don’t use metal nails or tacks to hang the cords. Instead, invest in insulated tape or plastic clips. Keep connectors off the ground and away from metal gutters to avoid combustion. Never connect more than three light strings to one individual wall plug, otherwise, you run the risk of overloading the circuit. If you are using extension cords, stick to one per wall plug. Attaching multiple extension cords together increases the risk of fire. Be sure to never leave your lights on for an extended period of time or while you are sleeping.

Trees

Whether you are in favor of artificial or real holiday trees, both require precautions to keep your home safe. If you are purchasing an artificial tree, be sure it is flame resistant. Real trees should be cut right before going into your home so they will stay fresh the entire season. Be sure to water the tree every day to avoid weak, brittle needles that can easily catch fire. No matter which type of tree you display, be sure to keep it at least three feet away from heat sources like fireplaces, heaters and radiators.

If your tree is metallic, do not put any string lights on it. Even the slightest fault in the lights can increase the charge in the tree and electrocute anyone who touches it. When hanging ornaments, properly dispose of any old ornaments that you suspect may have lead paint particles or any ornaments with sharp edges. If you are displaying décor with moving parts on your tree, such as a train or spinning ornaments, be sure to place them high enough so kids won’t try to touch them and accidentally knock over the tree.

Fireplace

Fireplaces are a great way to stay warm and cozy during the winter months, but extra care should be taken when they become surrounded by holiday decorations in December. Before starting a fire in your fireplace, always make sure the chimney flue is open and clean. It is best to have a professional clean your chimney each fall and check for any potential issues.

If you hang stockings or pine garland from your fireplace or leave presents on your hearth, make sure they are all removed before starting a fire. Flying sparks can cause combustion, especially when flammable items are close to the open flames. Resist the urge to throw loose pines from your tree or ripped wrapping into the fire. These items create lots of floating embers that can catch your roof (or your neighbor’s) on fire.

If a new home is at the top of your holiday list this year, look no further. Our experienced realtors will get you into the home you thought only Santa could find! Whether you are looking to rent or buy, we will help you through every step of the process. Give us a call at (618) 659- 5565 or visit https://gorirealtors.com/contact-us/.

 

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Increase Your Home Value With Ease

Increasing home value requires an investment in finances and time regardless of the scale or scope of the project. Fortunately, this does not have to be a major or significant investment. There are a number of simple and easy changes that can increase your property value as you prepare to sell your home. Follow these simple tips to walk away from your home with more money in your pocket.

Paint Everything

A fresh coat of paint helps refresh your home and is highly enticing to buyers. These colors should be neutral, trendy and inviting. Now is the time to get rid of the hot pink walls, outdated wallpaper and the walls your kids covered in posters. Refresh all of these walls with neutral colors. This will ensure buyers do not walk through the home distracted by all of the painting they will have to do if they select your home.

Replace Hardware

We all know the 1970’s cabinet handles, drawer pulls and door knobs that are likely still functional but are not doing anything for the value of your home. They are actually taking away from the value of your home because they immediately label your home as old and dated in the mind of a buyer. A simple switch to new, modern hardware will ensure the home feels much newer in the mind of the buyer. Again, this is one less project the buyer will think about as they tour your home.

Clean, Plain & Simple

No, seriously. While this sounds like an unnecessary tip, it is surprising to see how often effective cleaning does not take place when owners attempt to sell their homes. Deep clean your home from top to bottom before listing. Even the cleanest people miss spots sometimes, and sellers have no idea which nooks and crannies buyers may look in when viewing a home. If you don’t want the hassle of cleaning, hire a service to deep clean the house for you. This is a worthwhile investment and can be very affordable and rewarding.

Look at the Lighting

Similar to the outdated hardware, the brass-adorned ceiling lights in your home tell buyers a story about your home. This is not a good story. Change that story into a positive one with new, modern lighting. New lighting throughout the home will brighten up the space and modernize it as well. Say goodbye to the fake brass finish that has been adorning your home for generations, and say hello to more money when the home sells.

Lush Lawn

The lawn is one of the first impressions buyers get for a home they are considering purchasing, make sure it is a good one. Buyers do not want to see bare patches or a lawn that is about as thin as the few hairs left on Uncle Henry’s head. Now is the time to water, fertilize and mow perfectly executed patterns into the yard. If your home improvement center’s fertilizer is not effective, it is worthwhile to call a professional to treat your yard and get it looking fantastic in no time.

The key to increasing property value is decreasing the number of projects potential buyers will have to do soon after moving into the space. Walk through your home as you would walk through a home you are considering purchasing. What projects would immediately jump out at you? What would distract you from the rest of your home? Those are the projects that should be done immediately. Ready to find your next dream home? Give us a call 618-659-5565.

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Preparing Your Home for Fall

After the sweltering summer, the thought of cooler weather quickly coming is a liberating and well-received message. With the change in season also comes changes in the maintenance routine for your home. Soon, you will turn off the air conditioner for the season, open up the windows and welcome in the fall air. While this change may feel like it is far away right now, it will be here before we know it. Let’s get ready!

Gear Up the Gutters

With summer storms, your gutters have likely received quite a beating in the past few months. Take some time to make sure they are still securely attached to your home and free of dents. Even further, while you are up there, be sure to clean out any debris or blockages. This will provide a clean slate before the leaves begin to fall.

Wash Your Trash

As strange as this may sound, now is the time to clean your garbage and recycling cans. Rodents have very strong senses of smell and are attracted to the scent that comes from a neglected refuse container. During the harvest season, anything that will help deter rodents is a good idea. Give your containers a quick clean and you will be in good shape, plus they will make your yard or garage smell considerably better. You’ll thank yourself in the end.

Flip the Filter

While you may be turning your HVAC system off and opening the windows for a few weeks, it is still imperative that you replace the filter so that it is ready when you do turn the system back on. Failing to regularly replace your filter can cause costly or permanent damage to your air handling unit. It also has a great effect on the air quality in your home. Excellent air quality can provide important health benefits for you and your family.

Reflect on the Roof

In addition to wreaking havoc on your gutters, summer storms may have also damaged your roof. Take time to inspect your roof – watching for any soft spots, missing shingles, or severe discoloration. These issues may warrant a small roof repair or a full roof replacement; however, taking care of this now is much better than finding out the hard way during a snow storm.

Spy on the Siding

Summer sun and heat can take a toll on your siding. As fall approaches, look at your siding to see if there are any bows, paint chips, dents or any other damage. Often, these serve as signs of other, larger issues that lie beneath the siding including leaks, mold, or pest infestation. Don’t wait any longer to address these issues.

Seal the Deal

As harvest takes place, pests and rodents look for any way to enter your home. Take a look at all of the door and window seals in your home to ensure they are in proper working order and do not need to be repaired or replaced. If you can see light coming through any part of the perimeter of a door or window, it needs to be addressed. This also helps prepare for winter as it keeps cold (or hot) air from entering your home.

After completing this quick and painless checklist, you are ready to welcome fall with open arms. Is it time for you to “fall” for a new home? Give us a call (618) 659-5565.

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Stay Organized this School Year

The madness of the school year has officially begun. For many, this also brings feelings of stress and disorganization. This doesn’t have to be the case. With just a few simple daily changes, your home will stay organized throughout the school year. This also provides the perfect opportunity to teach the kids their role in keeping their home clean as well as accountability and responsibility.

Make the Most of the Mudroom

Over the years, the mudroom can become a disorganized mess filled to the brim with old clothes and shoes sprinkled with an assortment of sports equipment that no one in the family wants to claim as their own. Sound familiar? Start the school year on the right foot by cleaning out the clutter and making the mudroom into a functional space for the family to store school bags, lunch boxes, jackets, shoes and sports equipment. Give each member of the family a designated space. Soon, the mud room will no longer be a mess and turn into the epicenter of the family.

Routine Route Routine

The beauty of the school year is that it provides a great deal of structure and routine. Keep that structure and routine going after the final bell ring, bus stop or whistle. Get the kids in a routine of working on homework at a set time, eating dinner at a regular hour and shutting down for bedtime at the same time each night. In-between, get the kids in the routine of putting their things away and keeping their areas clean. Make it a standard that they share any upcoming bake sales or science projects with you far in advance. This will save the emergency 10:30 p.m. trip to the grocery store to buy Double Stuf Oreos the night prior to the classroom Halloween party. Keep the routine standard and it will run like clockwork within a few short weeks. However, we understand that no one is perfect. Things happen, and schedules get hectic. It is still possible to stay organized and stress-free without a concrete schedule. Just roll with the punches and keep pushing to stay as close to the routine as possible.

Get the Kids Involved

You do not deserve to constantly pick up after your kids. They should play a role in helping keep the house in line and organized. Teaching them this important lesson at a young age not only helps make your life easier, but it also teaches them how to be accountable and responsible for their own actions. If they do not clean out their lunch box and it is not filled properly the next day, they will learn from the consequences. If they forget to get their report card signed, they will quickly learn to stay more organized and aware of their deadlines. If they cannot find their jacket or bookbag because they did not hang it up, they will learn to put them in their proper places. Although they many not enjoy these lessons in the moment, they will thank you later.

By staying organized, this will be the best school year yet for both your children and yourself. We hope everyone finds success and stays organized in the new school year!

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Back to School Home Safety Tips

It’s the most wonderful time of the year or, perhaps, the most awful time of the year depending on your thoughts toward the start of the school year. Regardless, it’s time for the kids to head back to school! We’ve all heard the standard driving, playground and bus safety tips; but what about home safety tips? Your home has likely been busy and full of your kids and their friends all summer. Now that the school year is beginning, your home is quiet and likely empty for several hours of the day. Follow these tips to ensure your home stays safe during the school year.

Get Smart

There are a number of high-tech home systems that allow you to control a number of things in your home while you are away including lights, locks, garage doors, air temperature and electronics. These are a fantastic solution if you have an especially busy family. It is easy to forget to lock the door, turn the TV off or close the garage door. Once the chaos of the morning commute is complete, it is easy to double check that everything is safe and secure with this technology. Further, a programmable thermostat can help keep energy bills affordable. While the house is empty during the day, there is no need to keep the air conditioning running at a low temperature. Give the pocketbook and power grid a rest by setting a higher daytime temperature. The house will be cooled off again by the time everyone returns. This can be a lifesaver during the scorching August heat.

Shut the Shades

Burglars know it is back-to-school season too. Windows that are not covered can easily make your home a target for burglars as they can peer straight into the home allowing them to take full stock of the flat screen TV, iPad, laptop, jewelry, designer purses and cash inside the home. Be sure to keep valuables out of sight lines of windows, and if that is not possible, close the shades or pull the drapes to hide them from spying eyes.

Take a Test

You don’t even have to study for this one! Make sure you test your smoke, fire, carbon monoxide, and security alarms as the school year starts up again. These important and simple tests can save a life. Most fire-related deaths are a result of faulty, missing or broken fire alarms. Don’t let your family become a statistic, get into the routine of regularly checking the alarms in your home to ensure they are in proper working order.

Don’t Forget Fido

The kids were likely home most of the summer to give the pets attention, take them on walks, play with them and – most importantly – feed them. Be sure to have a plan on how the pets will be taken care of once the kids return to school. Leaving the beloved family pet in a cage all day long is not fair to them nor a good way to treat an animal.

Back to School is sure to be a success with these tips. We wish all of the students out there, especially those who are our own tenants, the best of luck in the new school year. You will all find success! Is it time to relocate to a new school or school district? Give us a call today at (618) 659-5565.

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Deck Out Your Small Space

There’s nothing wrong with a small space. They are cozy, warm, welcoming and inviting. The biggest problem with most small spaces is decorating appropriately. How does one find a happy-medium between sophisticated adornment and clutter? How much will it cost to properly decorate the space to your standards? Follow these tips and you will have a beautiful, refined space in no time.

Less is More

The best part about decorating a small space is that it does not require a great deal of time or resources. One of the easiest and most common mistakes made in small space decorating is overdoing it. A few bold pieces that tie a room together are more than sufficient. Too many pieces can make the space feel even smaller, messy and cluttered. Keep it simple, especially in the beginning. You can always add more as you go, but too many items at the start can cause problems.

Make More Space

Décor choices can actually make a space feel considerably larger. Making the use of mirrors as you decorate your small space will make it feel more open and spacious. No, we are not suggesting this so you can look at yourself all day. Instead, this is a known trick used by professional stagers and decorators; however, we will not pass any judgement if you do catch yourself staring once in a while.

Further, reduce the amount of visible items. This works especially well in kitchens. If you have the luxury of keeping your kitchen appliances and utensils in cabinets and drawers, this will make your kitchen seem much larger and allow you significantly more space to work. The less visible clutter, the better.

Lighten Up

Light shades of paint and bright lighting can make a small space feel larger and more inviting. The darker your paint and furniture, the smaller the space will feel. Brighten things up with lighter color schemes and bright pops of color that truly brighten up the space. Further, light up the room. If you do not have the luxury of good ceiling lighting, invest in lamps to light up the room. Make sure you purchase the right lamps, though. Overly large or bulky lamps can cramp the space while giving off the same amount of light as a smaller, simpler option. Statement lamps can also double as both décor and lighting, thus taking care of two needs at once.

Use the Full Dimension of the Room

Go floor to ceiling with both storage and decoration. Floor to ceiling storage provides additional area to reduce clutter in your small space. Using the full dimensions of the room provides new opportunities to go big and bold with décor, thus allowing you to decorate an entire room with just one or two pieces. One of the simplest ways to decorate your small space and make it feel and look bigger is by hanging curtains very close to the ceiling. This is a classic trick that interior decorators use to give an illusion that the ceilings are higher than they actually are.

Your space may still be on the small side, but these tips will help it feel considerably larger in no time. If you still think your living space is too small, we are happy to help you find a new home with room to grow. Give us a call today (618) 659-5565, and we will begin searching for homes that fit your needs!

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Questions to Ask During a Showing

Looking at homes can be an overwhelming process. Potential buyers look at many different options and it becomes difficult to keep track of all of the thoughts and opinions about each house. Buckle up and take notes at each home. It is also important to ask the right questions as you proceed through the home.

Think Ahead

Ask questions about future repairs that you will likely have to pay for. These are important to plan into your budgeting process.

  • How old is the roof?
  • How old are the windows? Are they energy efficient?
  • When was the last time the HVAC system was serviced?
  • How many years has it been since the water heater was installed?
  • What is the age of the appliances?

These questions will help you gauge some of the costly replacements that you will have to make and how soon you may have to make them. This tends to be a hidden cost that many buyers forget to consider in their home-buying decision.

Location

Your realtor should be a local expert and be able to give you very good insight about the convenience, safety and general lifestyle of the location you are considering.

  • How is the traffic?
  • What is the make-up of the neighborhood? Younger? Older? Families? Couples? Kids?
  • How close is this house to groceries, shopping, restaurants, entertainment, etc.?
  • Are there any neighborhood events or traditions?
  • Is there common wildlife we should know about?

With these questions, you will be able to determine if the location and neighborhood culture is a good match to what you are looking for. You’ll be able to easily determine if this neighborhood matches your lifestyle or your desired lifestyle. These questions are extremely important and cannot be found by a simple Google search.

Price

Of course, the price is an important factor, but there are specific questions that can provide you a better understanding of the asking price and what may be included in it.

  • Is there anything included in the price? Upgrades? Repairs?
  • How does the price of this home compare to others in the neighborhood? Why is this price higher/lower?
  • How long has the home been on the market?
  • Are there any other interested potential buyers?
  • How motivated is the buyer?

These questions will help you determine what to offer for the home and the likelihood of that offer being accepted by the seller. This information is extremely important and could be the determining factor in whether or not you get the home you desire.

Armed with these questions, you are ready to take on home tours. Are you missing the most important part? A realtor? Give us a call (618) 659-5565. One of our team members will ensure you get the attention you need throughout your home buying or selling journey.

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Kids Can Help Around the House Too

Taking care of a home can be a daunting task, especially if the entire task falls on your own shoulders. With just one set of hands helping keep an entire house clean and yard looking nice, it is easy to get overwhelmed or do a poor job. Adding additional hands to the mix and delegating some of the tasks can relieve a great deal of stress and annoyance.

It is important to get your kids involved in the tasks of taking care of a home. They live in the home too, thus should help with a fair share of the work around the home. But how do you get them involved? It might take a little extra time when you first get them involved, but it will certainly pay off in the end.

Start the kids out with an appropriate task for their age and ability. Don’t have your 7-year-old scrubbing the toilet with harsh chemicals, rather get them started on an appropriate task. Perhaps this involves folding clean towels, dusting low shelves and knick-knacks or pairing socks. Is your 13-year-old home for the summer? They can absolutely wash, dry and fold a few loads of laundry, mow the lawn or do their own laundry independently while you are away at work.

It may take some time to teach the kids how to properly do the job; but once they get the hang of it, think of the things that will no longer be on your seemingly endless list of to-do’s. Many hands make light work and it will allow you all to play a role in the daily function of the home, complete the tasks fairly quickly and get back to having fun together in no time.

In the moment, your kids likely will not love the idea of helping around the home. Fortunately, they will thank you in the end. When they move out of your home and realize they know how to do standard tasks and take care of their first living space, they will be happy you taught them at a young age. There are a concerning number of college students who move into their first apartments or houses with absolutely no idea how to clean or maintain them. By starting them with these skills at a young age, they will be experts by the time they move out. You will not have to worry about your children living in filth or never having clean clothing. Take the time to instill the values of helping and responsibility now.

Sit back, relax and think about how much easier your normal cleaning regimen will be once you get the entire family involved. We promise, your kids will thank you for this later.

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To Rent or To Buy?

The time has come to move to a new space, but should you continue renting or take the next step to buy a home? Fortunately, we can offer you both spaces to rent and spaces to purchase. However, there are several things to consider when deciding to rent or buy. As always, we cannot make the decision for you; however, we can help facilitate the conversation, present both options and provide a low-pressure environment for you to make the choice that is best for you and your future.

How rooted are you?

Is your current area the place you plan to stay in for 5 to 10 years? If so, this may be a good time to consider making the investment in a home and allow your roots to dig even deeper than they currently are. Are you unsure of career moves or where you might be in the next 5 years? In this case, you are fairly unrooted and may not want to commit to a mortgage just yet. In the meantime, you can begin saving for a home and thinking about the city you will plant your roots in.

What’s your five-year plan?

What do you plan do to in the next five years? Do you have plans to get married? Have kids? Change jobs? Move across country? Of course, we know that plans are never set in stone, but having a general direction for the next five years is extremely helpful in making a decision to rent or buy. If you are planning a career change, that change may involve moving; thus it may be best to continue renting. Do you plan to have kids? Maybe it’s time to think about purchasing a home. While we have seen many couples who are weeks away from their due date move, we know how stressful and difficult it is. Taking this step early could save you a great deal of fatigue. Your five-year plan is very important in the rent versus buy decision.

How much money do you have saved?

While the monthly mortgage payment may be the same or even lower than your current rent, don’t forget to consider the down payment that generally runs around 20% (or more) of the price of the home. For many homes, this can be a considerable amount of money that takes a great deal of time to gather. If you have already been saving for this step and can handle making the down payment, it absolutely might be time to consider purchasing a home rather than continuing to rent.

What other financial responsibilities do you have?

Do you have a car payment? Student loans? Wedding bills? Baby on the way? Retirement savings? The list can go on and on. When considering adding another bill to that list, think about the opportunity cost. Do the financial benefits of owning a home outweigh the financial burdens you already have? Will a home purchase take you from comfortable living to living paycheck-to-paycheck? These are questions that you must be able to answer.

Fortunately for you, we can provide wonderful options regardless of your choice to buy or rent. With Gori Realtors and Gori Property Management, you do not have to look any further for housing options. We can help guide you through the decision to rent or buy then present you with options that will fit your needs. Ready to find your next home? Give us a call at (618) 659-5565.

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What Story Does Your Front Door Tell?

Your front door is an important part of your home. Not only is it the portal into your home, but it also gives those outside a sense of who you are, what you stand for and what likely lies on the other side of the door. When deciding on a front door color, it should match your personality and serve as an expression of who you truly are. But what do all of these color options mean?

Yellow

You are an optimistic social butterfly who certainly does not hide their personality. Your personality is at the forefront in any given situation. You are quirky and have a high level of charm. People love to be around you!

Red

You are always the host of the party. Your home is a warm and welcoming environment where friends and family love to gather. Further, you are a lover of history and tradition who likely has a fairly extensive home library.

Orange

You are fearless and spontaneous. When friends spend time with you, they know that it will be a fantastic time filled with new experiences and adventures. You are also a fan of modern design elements which will likely be found in your home.

Black

You are classic and timeless. You are generally a busy person and do not get caught up in the trend-of-the-week. You are trustworthy. Your home likely contains several specifically curated pieces of antique furniture that bring a certain level of class to the home.

Blue

You are family-focused and down-to-earth. Others know exactly what to expect when they see you. Spontaneity is not your forte, rather rich tradition is what gives you life. Your home is likely filled with cherished treasures that have been passed down through your family for years.

Green

You may be a little on the preppy side, but that is certainly not a bad thing. You take a great deal of pride in making a difference in your community. You like to build community and rapport by hosting guests frequently.

Purple

You are an individual who is completely unbothered by others’ opinions and thoughts. You have no time in your busy schedule to worry about what others think about you. You are likely a fan of art and have several bold pieces throughout your home.

Teal

You genuinely don’t understand why you live in the Midwest and not along the coast. You are happiest when you are at the beach. Since you can’t always be at the beach, you have made your home feel like a getaway so that every day feels like a vacation.

Gray

You are modern, refined and timeless. There will never be a tacky lawn ornament on your property. You appreciate high quality goods and embrace minimalism. Some may see you as rigid, but we know you simply appreciate the finer things in life.

Pink

You are detail oriented and tough. You don’t put up with any nonsense. Guests look forward to your gatherings because they know that every detail will be in order from the first minute to the last. You are always willing to try new things and step beyond your comfort zone.

White

You are simple, hospitable and clean. Guests enter your home and wonder if anyone lives there because it is so clean. You are traditional. Your home likely contains shelves of books, pristine hardwood floor and lush carpets.

Are you ready to paint your front door? Better yet, are you ready to find a new home with a new front door? Call us today at (618) 659-5565 and we will help you find a new home that reflects your personality.

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