Steve Casey
RE/MAX Real Estate Center | 508-341-4464 | stcreal@aol.com


Posted by Steve Casey on 12/11/2017

Even though most people would consider family safety to be a top priority, few have gone to the trouble of actually printing out or creating a home safety checklist. It's really not that much trouble, though, because the information you need is readily available on the Internet, at your local library, and through your insurance agent. With so many different aspects of home safety to be aware of, a detailed, categorized list can help you focus your attention on what needs to be checked, cleaned, replaced, fixed, or upgraded. A Word About Landlines vs Cell Phones The widespread use of cellphones has caused an increasing number of home owners to cancel their landline telephone service. While this may seem like a smart way to save money and reduce telemarketing calls, it also raises some safety issues. In an emergency, for example, the last thing you want to be doing is frantically searching for a misplaced cellphone. Another issue to think about is the fact that mobile phones often need to be recharged on a daily basis -- sometimes at the most inopportune times. Although cellphones are an indispensable part of most people's lives, they're far from infallible. For this reason, maintaining your landline is an idea worth considering. Telephone companies may offer a budget-friendly service plan that could provide you with an emergency backup, in case your cell phones failed or couldn't be found. Organizing Your Safety Checklist There are a lot of different categories of home safety to keep in mind, so printing out a comprehensive list is an invaluable first step. Customizing the list to the needs of your household would logically come next. For example, a home with young children or elderly relatives will need age-specific safeguards to avoid accidents, injuries, and trips to the Emergency Room. Everyone's home safety checklist will vary, depending on the age of their home and its occupants. Here's a short list of some of the important items you'll want to include or seriously consider.

  • Install smoke detectors in strategic locations, and test the batteries several times a year (if not monthly). Your kitchen and bedroom areas are among the key spots in which smoke detectors need to be placed.
  • Carbon monoxide detectors are also a vital part of any home safety plan.
  • A working fire extinguisher should be available in the kitchen, as well as any other room in your home where a potential fire hazard exists. It's also a good idea to take a couple minutes to read the instructions and give members of the family a crash course on correct fire extinguisher operation.
  • Reduce the chance of chimney fires by having your fireplace and chimney professionally cleaned every couple of years. The frequency depends on several factors, including how often you use your fireplace and what type of wood you burn.
  • Miscellaneous home safety reminders: Other aspects of your plan may include burglar proofing your home, identifying and correcting potential electrical hazards, and reducing risks related to tripping, falling, and slipping.
Doing a home safety assessment is comparable to a New Year's resolution. You go into it with the best of intentions, but you don't always follow through. When it comes to keeping your home environment safe and secure for your family, however, it's never too soon to get started.





Posted by Steve Casey on 12/4/2017

There are many benefits to living in a simple and minimal environment. Lack of clutter helps us focus and boosts our mood. Have you ever sat down at your desk at work or in your home office and felt like you just couldn't get any work done and started tidying up instead? It might be a good idea to listen to that impulse and make your work environment a more productive place. In this article we're going to give you some tips for making your home office a distraction-free, minimal sanctuary. At the same time, these tips will be low cost--minimalism and frugality go hand in hand after all.

Why minimalism?

If you're the type of person who lives in a "well-organized mess" and is able to function highly in this environment, maybe you don't need to strip things down. Or, if you feel the most comfortable in a busy room and are able to get more work done this way, maybe the busy and cozy office environment works for you. However, the majority of people don't fit that description. We tend to do our best work when we have only the necessities at had. Having a minimal home office has numerous benefits. Aside from helping you focus and adding a spacious, pleasant atmosphere to the room, minimalism can help your room look more updated and modern (increasing the value of your home), and can help you save money once you start making only the most useful purchases for your home office.

Your office as a workshop

If you work on cars in your garage and nothing else, you'll probably only want to fill your garage with the right tools for the job. This is also true for your home office. We have a tendency of putting old and extra furniture and decorations from our house into the less frequented rooms, like a home office. Look around your office. Has it become a storage room for old pillows, lamps, or furniture? If so, this is your chance to get rid of some items to clear up the room. Unlike your garage, the tools for the job needed in your home office have been extremely cut down thanks to technology. Among the items that laptops and smartphones have made obsolete:
  • filing cabinets--Google Drive and Dropbox can securely store all your documents
  • calculators--your phone and laptop have these
  • staplers
  • hole punches
  • landline telephones
  • bulletin boards
  • desktop calendars and planners
This list goes on and on. If you have the equivalent or a replacement on your laptop, there's no need to clutter your room with it.

Minimal decorating

Since simple living and minimalism are current trends there are a range of resources available to you when looking to revamp your home office. Some decorating tips to help you along the way:
  • Shop modular. Modular furniture from stores like IKEA and VITSOE are great space savers.
  • Keep your surfaces clear. Avoid the urge to cover your desk with items. That goes for tables, floors, walls, and ceilings as well.
  • Think about color. Using bright colors for your walls and ceiling will make your room feel more spacious and minimal.
  • Nature is your friend. Natural light and one or two plants will compliment any minimal space.





Posted by Steve Casey on 11/29/2017

Striking SalemCape style lofted split located on corner of quiet side street. Beautifully landscaped lot w/stone and brick walkways. Interior features unique wood accents-beamed ceilings, wood trim and pine floors. Updated kitchen & baths. FR w/cathedral ceiling. Fireplaced LR. 2nd floor loft w/skylights offers huge master suite. Finished lower level has inlaw potential. Newer roof, vinyl siding. Beautiful inground pool in private setting. Don't miss it!

More Info on this Property | New Listing Alerts




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Posted by Steve Casey on 11/27/2017

Homeowners insurance is necessary, but that doesn't mean you should be forced to pay an exorbitant amount for it. Instead, you can take advantage of the following money-saving tips to lower your monthly homeowners insurance premiums: 1. Bundle Your Homeowners and Auto Insurance. In many cases, you can bundle your homeowners and auto insurance to save money. This will allow you to cut costs and leverage the same insurance company for both your homeowners and auto insurance policies as well. If you already have auto insurance and are looking for home insurance for your new residence, be sure to discuss your plans with your auto insurer. By doing so, you may be able to bundle your homeowners and auto insurance and lower your insurance premiums for years to come. 2. Explore All of the Options at Your Disposal. When it comes to finding homeowners insurance, there are plenty of fish in the sea. Thus, you're sure to discover many great options at your disposal, all of which you should explore before you decide on a homeowners insurance provider. With homeowners insurance, you should try to conduct plenty of research. And remember, the most affordable option may not be the best option based on your homeownership needs. Therefore, homeowners who do their homework will be able to review all of the options at their disposal and make an informed decision about their homeowners insurance. 3. Exclude Land Value from Your Homeowners Insurance Policy. Your homeowners insurance may include the value of your land as well as your residence. In this scenario, you may want to consider removing the land value from your policy. With homeowners insurance, you'll want to ensure that your residence and its contents are fully covered. That way, these items can be replaced if they are damaged. On the other hand, you may not need replacement coverage for your land. Before you exclude land value from your homeowners insurance, however, you'll want to discuss the pros and cons of doing so with an insurance agent. This professional will be able to outline how much money you can save by making this change, along with the short- and long-term ramifications of this decision. 4. Increase Your Deductible. Boosting your homeowners insurance policy's deductible likely will result in a drop in your monthly premium. At the same time, it is important to consider the trade-off that takes place if you make this change to your policy. A higher deductible means that you'll be required to pay more out of pocket if and when a claim is filed. As such, you should weigh the immediate cost savings versus the long-term value of increasing your deductible before you finalize your decision. Homeowners insurance can be tricky to understand, but insurance agents can help you discover the best ways to lower your monthly premiums. Ask your insurance agent for help with your homeowners insurance, and ultimately, you can work with this professional to find solutions to help you save money on your insurance premiums.





Posted by Steve Casey on 11/20/2017

Buying a home should be simple. Unfortunately, purchasing a residence can become complicated quickly, especially if you fail to consider the immediate and long-term costs associated with a house.

Ultimately, there are many hidden expenses that a homebuyer needs to consider before he or she purchases a house, including:

1. Utilities

Heating and cooling costs, water fees, electricity expenses and other utility bills may prove to be overwhelming if you're not careful. Fortunately, if you learn about various utility costs now, you may be better equipped to keep your utility bills in check at your new residence.

Ask your real estate agent for information about a home seller's utility bills. By doing so, you can get a better idea about how much your utilities may cost if you decide to purchase a particular residence.

Also, if you plan ahead for your utility bills, you can budget accordingly. Keep in mind that utilities are essential in any home. As such, you'll need to account for these costs in addition to your monthly mortgage payments, regardless of the home you buy.

2. Commuting

If you're moving to a new city or town, you'll want to consider how your move may impact your daily commute to work, school or any other locations that you visit regularly.

Consider a home's proximity to highways. If you move to a house that is located near a major highway, you may encounter heavy traffic at various points throughout the day, resulting in a lengthy commute.

Also, find out whether public transportation is available near your new home. In some instances, you may be able to take advantage of buses, trains and other public transportation options to get where you need to go without delay.

3. Home Upgrades

Although a home may appear to be a dream come true, there are problems beneath a house's exterior that could bubble to the surface after you complete your purchase. Thus, you may want to put aside money for home upgrades that may be necessary in the near future.

For example, an older home may require a new hot water heater and furnace soon. And if you start saving for a new hot water heater and furnace today, you may be able to replace them before it's too late.

A home inspector can help you identify home problems. This professional will conduct an in-depth review of a residence and provide honest feedback about any problems that could escalate quickly.

After a home inspection, you can always ask the home seller to perform the necessary repairs, or you can walk away from a home offer. On the other hand, you can keep your current home offer, move forward with your home purchase and complete the upgrades on your own.

When it comes to planning ahead for hidden home expenses, a real estate agent can point you in the right direction. Your real estate agent is happy to respond to your homebuying concerns and questions and will do everything possible to ensure you are fully satisfied with any residence you purchase.




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