Chris Werme and Mike Boland - ERA Key Realty Services - Westborough



Posted by Chris Werme and Mike Boland on 5/5/2020

Image by pascalhelmer from Pixabay

You’ve spent months scouring home listings and viewing houses. Once you found your dream home, you signed the contracts and successfully closed. Congratulations! It’s time to get started on this next exciting chapter of your life.

While you’re probably eager to move your belongings into your new home, it’s a good idea to pause for a moment and plan to give your new house a deep cleaning. Here are five areas you’ll want to focus on before you start hauling in your possessions.

1. Bathrooms

Bathrooms are a priority because you’ll want to eliminate any potential germs lurking about. Even if everything looks clean, you can’t know for sure if it’s only been surface-cleaned, so you’ll want to give it your own deep cleaning. This way you can ensure any bacteria or other icky germs aren’t lingering. Focus on the toilet, sink, and tub. Don’t forget the toilet seat—ideally, install a new one.

Tip: Change the shower curtain and liner or, if you’re keeping the existing curtain because it matches the décor, give it a good machine wash.

2. Kitchens

Kitchens are another room where germs tend to linger. To start, clean the interiors of the oven and refrigerator. Next, use disinfectant to wash down the sink, faucet, counters, cabinets and all appliance exteriors. Don’t forget any handles and knobs.

Once you’ve got the kitchen clean, cover the cabinet and pantry shelves with new liner. Not only will it help protect your dishes and other wares, but it’ll give these spaces a fresh clean look and feel when you place your items in it.

3. Floors & Carpets

If you aren’t immediately replacing carpets, give them a deep cleaning with a rug cleaner. If you don’t own or have access to one, you can rent one from a grocery or hardware store. Wash any hardwood floors. To avoid harsh chemicals, you can use water and white vinegar, they’ll eliminate most bacteria and remove most dirt and grime.

Give the bathroom and kitchen floors additional attention by thoroughly washing these floor surfaces with a disinfecting cleaner. Be sure not to miss any nooks and crannies. Clean tile, vinyl or linoleum with a bacteria-killing cleaner and don’t forget any grout—a baking soda paste works nicely.

4. Air Filters

It’s hard to know when air filters were last changed. It’s always a good idea to replace them, just to be on the safe side. Mark the filters with the date, so you know when it’s time to swap them out again.

Tip: Don’t forget the vent filter above the stove if you have one.

5. Door Knobs

Door knobs are easy to overlook but they are a prime area for lingering germs. Go through your home and disinfect doorknobs, cabinet pulls and drawer handles. Don’t forget the handles on sliding glass or shower doors.

Tip: Use disinfectant wipes on doorknobs if you’re short on time

Once you’ve given your house a deep cleaning, you can confidently move your possessions into your home with a fresh, clean start.




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Posted by Chris Werme and Mike Boland on 4/30/2019

Everyone needs a few minutes to decompress between the office and home. You don’t want to bring any stress from your day into your family time so finding ways to relax before you get home is helpful. Sometimes taking a few minutes to cool down during the commute mentally is enough to help you relax before getting home, but sometimes driving continues to exacerbate your stress level. Finding a place in your neighborhood or near your home where you can park and spend a few minutes decompressing before continuing home can make a big difference to your day. Create a little haven where you spend 15-20 minutes alone. Take the time to let go of any stress or anger built up at the office or to rest for a few minutes so that you have the energy to be a great parent and partner.

Each personality seeks different features in a decompression place. Do you need a quiet place where you can think, or do you prefer a loud place with TVs to distract you from thinking? Does sitting help you relax or does walking around or getting exercise help you clear your mind? Think about what you need and what type of place in your neighborhood could be your new haven.

  • Coffee Shop: A coffee shop can be a great place to spend a few minutes by yourself. You can relax with a soothing cup of tea or re-energize with a cup of joe. Coffeehouses offer you the ability to be alone and have your headphones on or read a book, but they also create a space where you can meet people and have some casual conversation to take your mind off the day.
  • Restaurant/bar: Finding a local spot with a happy hour might be the right choice for you. Especially if you are a sports fan, a local sports bar or café with TVs might be just the thing to help distract you for a few minutes ahead of dinner. 
  • Park: After being cooped up in an office all day getting out and taking in some fresh air might be just the thing. Is there a local park or greenbelt near your home where you can go for a nice stroll on the way home? Sit on a park bench to peruse a book, watch dogs play, or stare off at a stream or water feature.
  • Library: If you're a bookworm try visiting your local library on the way home. Take a little time to discover a new book or read a couple of chapters of your current book in a pleasantly quiet environment.
  • Mall: If you live near a mall try walking around and window shopping by yourself. Get in a little exercise and let your mind wander as you pass the different shop windows.
  • Gym: Exercising is an excellent way to decompress and get some positive endorphins flowing through your body. If you have the time to work out for even 20-30 minutes on your way home, it can make a genuine difference to your physical and emotional health and help bring you mental clarity. 

 If having a local and easily accessible place to decompress is vital to you in a neighborhood, take time to talk with your real estate agent about your needs before beginning your home search.




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Posted by Chris Werme and Mike Boland on 4/2/2019

If you've ever traveled through the United Kingdom, the phrase "mind the gap" conjured up trips across London's Underground or disembodied voices calling out the warning as your elevator doors open or close. It's wise to heed those voices since gaps between an elevator, and the floor of an older building could be wider than you expect, and trains don't touch the sides of the platforms, so you could step off into thin air if you lead with your heel.

Other gaps need mending as well. When it comes to your home, gaps can cause the most lost to energy efficiency.

Common gaps

  • Door gaps. If your exterior doors do not line up in the frame, you’ll have gaps around the door and jamb that allow cold air to leak in during the winter, raising your heating bills, and warm air to radiate in during the summer, jacking up your air conditioning bills. Adjust your door so that it fits snugly in the frame. Most modern thresholds and door shoes (the rubber or vinyl cushion on the bottom of the exterior door) can adjust to fill the gaps. If space remains, use weather stripping to fill it in. If the gap is in the jamb or frame, caulk should do the trick.
  • Window spaces. Energy efficient windows should not have gaps, so if yours do, contact the manufacturer to see if they are reparable under warranty. Older windows, just like doors, may have crevices due to poor installation, shrinkage, or age-related misalignment. Where gaps are not correctable with weather strip or caulk, consider budgeting to replace them. NOTE: do not seal a bedroom window shut. Bedroom windows must offer egress in case of a fire or other emergency.
  • Roof gaps. As the roof gets older, spaces may form from movement in the home's walls and foundation. If your roof leaks, there is a gap someplace, and a professional roofer should be your first call. Leaving a roof leak can damage your entire home and weaken its structure.
  • Indoor gaps. One of the most frustrating gaps appearing in the kitchen is one between the stove and the countertop next to it. These gaps become filled with gunk and debris. If yours is a built-in range, close the gap with caulk. If, however, you have a freestanding range, look for countertop extenders or gap-fillers at your local hardware or DIY store or search online for silicone counter gap guards or spill guards.
  • Backsplash gaps. If your kitchen or bath backsplash has separated from the countertop, fill the gap with a waterproof caulk immediately. Water running between the counter and the backsplash can cause considerable damage to counters, walls, cabinets, and even subflooring if the water finds its way down the pipes.

If you think you may have energy-leaking gaps in your home, check with your local utility to see if they provide a free energy assessment. Repairing gaps protects your home and maintains your home’s value.




Tags: homeowner   weather   DIY  
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Posted by Chris Werme and Mike Boland on 11/7/2017

There are important points that first time homeowners should consider. These points can help homeowners avoid future head and wallet aches. Other advantages embedded in these important points include better understanding of homeowners association rules, house inspection preparation and mortgage repayment expectations.

Don't let homeowner excitement force you into a bad house buying deal

You'd be hard pressed to find an experience that is more exciting or stressful as buying a house. First time homeowners are people who are generally hopeful and ready to go after their dreams. Their backgrounds are broad, diverse. Hopefulness aside, buying a home is a large step. It's the largest purchase that many people make.

If house shoppers aren't careful, they could sign a lousy mortgage contract. The below points are great to consider before buying a house:

  • Credit history - Access your credit history.Check your credit report with all three major credit agencies. The major agencies are Experian, TransUnion and Equifax. Don't stop there. Consider how ready you are to take on more debt.
  • Check the neighborhood - Visit the neighborhood during the day and night. Pay attention to the condition of painting and siding on houses, sidewalks, driveways, community facilities, schools and lawns.
  • Speak with neighbors - While you're walking around the neighborhood, introduce yourself to neighbors. Ask them what they like best and least about the neighborhood.
  • Think about how long you plan on living in your new home - Because lenders build mortgages that require you to pay most of the interest during the early part of your home loan, you could save if you stay at your new home longer than five years. Otherwise, it might be more cost efficient to rent.
  • Familiarize yourself with homeowners association(HOA) fees - Ask your real estate agent what the monthly homeowners association fees are. Go with a HOA that is well funded. Also, choose a home that is managed by a HOA that invests part of fees it receives toward savings.

More ways that first time homeowners can get ahead during the house buying process

  • Understand HOA rules - Some states set HOA rules. Other states do not. Check with your state to see if they have regulations that HOAs must abide by. If the state doesn't have HOA regulations,get a copy of the HOA rules. Take your time reviewing the rules. If you are adamantly against a HOA rule, buying a home in a different neighborhood might be the right decision.
  • Calculate your monthly mortgage payments - Do this before you agree to move forward with buying a home. Don't just factor in the principal. Factor in interest, closing costs and inspection fees.
  • Shop for a fixer upper - Compare the costs of buying a fixer upper versus buying a key-ready house. If you buy a fixer upper,make sure that you can afford to cover repairs. Should you or someone you know be a handy person, buying a fixer upper as first time homeowners could prove smart.
  • Consider other expenses - As first time homeowners, you may need to buy furniture. Think about these costs before you become first time homeowners.
  • Buy a large enough house - Get a house that's large enough to accommodate your family, now and several years into the future.




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