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Articles Tagged "House Cleaning"

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March
28

Tips for Opening Those Indian Lake Ohio Rentals After The Long Winter

Tips For Opening Those Indian Lake Ohio Rentals After The Long Winter

Opening your rental property after a long winter is the most exciting part of the year. It can also be the most stressful part. To get the season off to a great start, follow our planning tips for your opening weekend in your Indian Lake Ohio Rentals.

Opening Checklist

It's important that you start by making a detailed checklist of all the things you need to do when you get to your lakefront rental, including everything you need to take care of before you leave home. It may take a bit of time and effort, but it pays to be organized.

  • Call the electricity company, phone company and trash collection to turn your services back on.
  • Check that all insurance documents are up to date on the home, boat, trailer, etc.
  • Organize your keys, tools, cleaning supplies, clothing, batteries, and food.

Systems And Safety

Once you get to your Indian Lake Ohio rental, you'll need to make sure that the home is safe to inhabit again, before turning on the water and other systems. A checklist for the outside of the property should include checking the following:

  • Power lines
  • Phone Lines
  • Trees
  • Roof
  • Chimney Stack
  • Deck
  • Dock
  • Siding
  • Windows
  • Screens

After you have made sure the outside is all clear, there's a different checklist for indoors, including:

  • Checking the furnace filters.
  • Checking pipes for rust or damage before you turn on your plumbing and water heater.
  • Be on the lookout for signs of critters. Check screens and windows for holes and gaps and electrical cords for fraying or bite marks.
  • Inspect your deck and eaves for signs of rotting.
  • Test the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

Food And Necessities

Finally, check the basic necessities. You'll want to make sure the house is stocked with food and other everyday things you'll need, like sunscreen and bug spray. Look through the bathrooms and take inventory of your toiletries and what needs replacing and replenishing. Change the sheets if needed, and air out the place.

All this seems like a lot of work, and it is. However, it is worth it when you've gone through your checklists and there is no element of surprise later. And keep in mind, that closing your Indian Lake Ohio rentals is equally important. The spring opening experience can be a pleasant one when you take the time to close the house properly in the fall, and follow your checklists the next year. Prevention and good planning are the key to opening your rental home quickly and enjoying it for the summer.


Choice Properties is always here to answer any questions, regarding searching for your dream lake house or selling your current house. Give us a call!

August
31

 

A jam-packed garage filled to the gills with boxes, unused items or storage can leave a person feeling defeated before the process even begins. Break down the mountainous task into little pieces to get a better focus with some storage tips for transforming a chaotic space into one that is functional, organized and easy to use.

 

Set Realistic Expectations

Cleaning out the garage can feel like an onerous task but it will take more than one sweep to get rid of the clutter. Take the pressure off by assuming it will all get done in one fell swoop. Start by tossing perfection out the window before starting and break down the task into manageable chunks. Eventually a clean garage will appear (with small victories along the way).

 

Reconnaissance Mission

Go in with a focused mind. Worrying about sorting or removing items may ramp up anxiety about cleaning. Have a look around and note what is present. Do what needs to happen to feel organized in control. The following tips may also help:

  • Note big, bulky pieces

  • Research where to take the items

  • Take photos and create a Craigslist ad or other resource in the area

 

Use Local Resources

Compile a local resource list by looking over notes or photos made during the reconnaissance mission. Once a list is made, it is easier to figure out where to put it all. The following ideas are just a few ways to help get ideas started:

  • Consider renting a refuse container for trash

  • Find consignment shops to drop off clothes (or other charitable organization)

  • Chart details in advance to make process feel more smooth

 

Storage

Investment in proper storage is never a waste of money. Storage cabinets and wall-mounted storage can make a huge difference in accessibility of stored items and help protect items over time. Plastic bins also work well for hard items. Three main types of storage to consider include:

  • Overhead. If space is tight and there is alot to store, use overhead space to stow away least-frequently used items (holiday decor, seasonal items) in lidded bins. Overhead storage racks need secure mounting for safety so call a pro if needed.

  • Wall-mounted. Keep gear and bins off floor to prevent moisture damage and save floor space.

  • Locked cabinets. Essential for safely storing hazardous materials (antifreeze, motor oil, etc) keep them away from children and pets.

 

Some other tips to experience a successful garage clean out include moving frequently used gear near the entrance. Bikes and ball games or frequently used items should be easily accessible. Have storage handy to keep things in a proper place. Bike hooks for bikes, wire mesh baskets for balls and shelves for gardening supplies help keep things organized long-term. Maintain the clean state of the garage by continuing to purge items no longer used and creating storage for new items for a better overall feel in the home.

 


 

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August
17

Companies are working hard to bring in extra money for business all the time. Airlines are charging for extras which used to be free (baggage, extra leg room, snacks) and food companies are putting less in packaging for the same or even a higher cost. The bottom line has become more important than meeting consumer needs, in some cases. Consumers may forget this fact when signing a lease for a home. Renters may feel reasonable fees are charged to lease space but forget about itemized charges for utilities and other amenities which add to the total cost. A competitive rental market has driven prices higher than ever before in many urban markets. Learn more about the hidden costs and fees associated with leases and what to look for before signing a lease on the dotted line.

 

Utilities

Tenants tend to overlook amenities and utilities in a lease in a desire to either renew a lease or move into a new apartment. The overall cost of a property can become more than was bargained for if a consumer is not careful. Landlord/tenant laws in each state govern how utilities are billed and what recourse is available when payments are missed or shutoffs occur. Utilities may be included in the overall charge yet other times tenants must pay electric or gas bills. Third-party billing happens when an entire building is metered and the landlord splits charges among all tenants in the building, then bills individually. The charges are usually an add-on the rental charge.

 

City Ordinances

Third-party billing is seen by some states as a deceptive practice. Ordinances such as one in Seattle,  cover all residents living in buildings with three or more units to protect tenants from fraudulent overcharging practices. Some questions can be asked of a landlord prior to signing a lease. The following are just a few a tenant may ask about add-on fees:

  • Ask about utility service before signing a lease

  • Set up utility accounts quickly

  • Pay utility bills promptly and document payments

  • Take steps to protect self from landlord

  • Act immediately for better dispute resolution

 

Hidden Charges

Landlords in a competitive rental market may increase fees based on supply and demand which is cause for even more awareness around hidden fees. Additional fees may include:

  • Pets

  • Separate parking fee

  • Application fee (with approval or not)

  • Condos or HOAs may charge move-in fees for tenant-occupied units

  • Cable TV, internet may be billed through HOA or the landlord

  • Security deposit payments

  • Pre-paid fees (first and last month's rent due on move-in)


The best way to protect oneself in the rental market is to be a savvy consumer, know rights afforded tenants and don't sign anything without asking questions and reading the paperwork. Advocacy organizations and state agencies provide information to consumers. Lawyers are also available who specialize in landlord/tenant law to provide support and dispute resolution.

 

Get more advice on spotting those hidden costs in your lease.

Contact one of our agents today.

August
2

Whether a first-time buyer or one with experience, inventory is slim but lots of competition exists which can lead to a frustrating seller's market. Quick, easy sales are best for buyers. Sellers and buyers can benefit from some of the following tips for maximizing home selling and buying and the current competitive market.

 

Sellers and Buyers

The following tips will help any person selling a home or purchasing know what to look for when stepping into the current market.

 

Seller: Prepare, inspect, disclose and plan ahead. The market is less forgiving if a person makes a mistake. A home which goes 'back on the market' may mean less money in an eventual sale. Holding onto the first buyer is critical. Put issues out front for potential buyer. Be prepared to disclose any issues such as a leaking roof or other defects that may kill the deal before it is sealed.

 

Buyer: Be ready to move. Buyers are aggressive, motivated and ready to go. To compete with the market, be serious about becoming a homeowner. When a desirable listing pops up, make time to go see the property as it may not be available for long. With a seriously motivated seller, the buyer make work with the seller and take it off the market which leads to disappointment for other potential buyers who missed the boat.

 

Seller: Have a strategy. Don't move too quickly on an offer if others may come in. Work with a reputable agent who knows going in what to expect from the market (and prospective buyers). It may work to wait a week to 10 days, have more showings then review offers. It may also work to act on the offers that come in. The wrong approach may result in missing a better offer to come or lose momentum of the current (motivated) buyer.

 

Buyer: Win some, lose some. A few houses will go by the wayside before the right one comes along. Go with the flow to avoid frustration. Missing out can be a motivating factor to up the ante next time.

 

Seller: Know the competition. A smart seller will hit open houses well before homes hit the market. Pricing is key in a competitive market, especially with today's herd mentality. When someone wants a home, it must be desirable and have value to other people. Well-priced homes that show well grab immediate attention of buyers and sell faster (often for more money).

Preparation

Real estate is not a cheap investment and the process can be stressful. Sellers and buyers need to be on top of the game to find success. Sellers have the advantage to plan in advance of going on the market. Buyers must be reactive and prepared to move on a dime. It may feel like a wild ride, but the home of one's dreams is worth fighting for in a hot market.

 

Get more advice on the tips to this year's seller's market.

Contact one of our agents today.

 

November
10

Want to give your home a face lift but don't have a magically refilling wallet? With a budget of about $5,000 and a solid game plan, you can get a fresh new feel for your home this winter!

Home Improvements on a Budget

When working with limited funds, it's best to focus on the kitchen and bathrooms. These are the areas which are used the most, and if there's a chance you'll be selling your home anytime in the future, these are also the areas that buyers will show the most scrutiny over. With some finesse, you can even look at adding living space by enhancing your available outdoor areas.

Kitchens

A functional kitchen is a beautiful kitchen so start by assessing your cabinet situation. How practical are they? Could you use deeper cupboards? Taller? Wine-racks and spice storage might be beneficial, as well as a walk-in pantry to not only make better use of the space, but give you better control over your food supplies. Knowing what you have on hand will ultimately help out your grocery bill!

If you're happy with the cabinetry, other areas you can consider upgrading/updating are lighting and plumbing fixtures. Again, look for replacements that are not only 'pretty' but have 'green' benefits. These will eventually pay you back in utility bill savings, not to mention you can claim eco upgrades on your taxes. Win-win: help the environment AND put money in your pocket.

Bathrooms

Carry the green theme into your bathrooms. Update lighting and plumbing. While you're at it, consider giving the outdated tub/shower a facelift. Nothing says luxury like a tiled shower area, complete with a bench and a shelf area to house your assorted soaps and shampoos.

Outdoor Improvements

Create an outdoor living area to give your usable living space a boost. Actually building on new rooms can get quite costly, but a few dollars can go a long way toward turning a bland patio into an oasis. Things you'll want to keep in mind when creating your outdoor escape:

  • granite, pavers, or flagstone for the 'floor'

  • mulch landscape beds for visual appeal (if you don't have landscaping, consider a few potted plants)

  • provide shade by building a pergola or installing a retractable awning

  • if in a hot climate, consider installing outdoor fans and/or a misting system

  • water features will help with temperature as well, and can provide an audible escape


If you're looking to bring some life and energy to your home, a $5,000 budget can add quite a bit of flair and improvement to your house. Homes in Logan County are always beautiful but the upgrades keep them fresh. If you've recently updated your home, let us know!  Send us a picture and we'll feature it on our blog!

 

For more tips on how to upgrade your home with the buyer in mind.

Contact one of our agents for special advice.

 

November
6

As time marches on we tend to collect, some might even say hoard, so many "things." They might be personal mementos such as letters or various and sundry memorabilia from our school years, they might be "fangirl" collections from a book series, shot glasses from every state in the country, or baseball cards. Regardless of what is collected, humans like to gather.  It's in our nature.

Effects of a Cluttered Living Space

The problem with this is that eventually all this gathering leads to clutter, and clutter can lead to mental unease or distress. We're all very sensitive to our surroundings and the state of our living space often has a dramatic impact on our own emotional and mental state.  Cluttered closets and messy houses make for a lot of pent up anxiety and emotional baggage.  It might not seem obvious but the subtle effects of your surroundings have been studied and observed in cultures around the world for centuries, from Asian Feng Shui to modern Western Architectural Design principles. However, it's not always easy to part with our treasured collections of stuff.

 

Some of the most common reasons people refuse to get rid of these "things" are:

1. This is a family heirloom, so it would be wrong to let it go.

2. But it was a gift.

3. What if I need it someday?

4. I paid a lot of money for it.

 

Chances are, if you find yourself having to make excuses to yourself to keep the item(s), then you probably don't need them in your life or home. It's perfectly okay to have special mementos, but you don't need to hold onto every last thing you encounter in your life. Nor do you have to just throw away those relics.

Choose a few key pieces and create a shadowbox or a scrapbook. Consider donating your great-grandparents clothes to a local theatre organization where they can be used and appreciated by helping to bring the past to life . . . on stage. Perhaps you have some valuable china or crystal, or even art pieces, but they don't fit the style of your home and you never really liked the piece anyway . . . check with museum curators. You might have something that would be perfect for one of their displays (and this way you can go visit the stuff anytime you feel the urge to lay eyes on it again). Schools are always happy to take donations of gently loved books, toys, and clothes.

Minimizing, and thereby decluttering, your home will make you feel better. Don't keep things out of guilt or feelings of obligation. This is YOUR home, YOUR life, so make it a sanctuary. A happy place to be. You'll thank yourself for it.

 

Get more advice on ways to declutter your home and life.

Contact one of our agents today.

October
27

A home is a place that belongs to the entire family and the entire family belongs to the home. In an effort to build familial relationships, joining forces to care for and maintain your house can be an excellent source of inspiration and bonding. Whether you like the cliche or not, "clean up and do your share" can go a long way toward turning family chore day into something more akin to bonding time than a war zone. You just have to get everyone on the same page and set realistic expectations. Determine what your general goal for the day is, set everyone their tasks, and then dive in.

Doing Household Chores as a Family

First and foremost, don't expect perfection. As long as everyone's chipping in you can consider it a win. Allow for breaks, don't criticize, and be willing to offer praise and encouragement . . . especially if you have younger kids trying their best.

Do expect some whining. Nobody likes getting sweaty and dirty, so it's normal that there will be the passing comments of, "This isn't fun," or "I hate yardwork." Laugh it off, agree that it can suck, but keep going. Keeping your resolve to get the job done will reap rewards and satisfaction at the end of the day.

Don't omit anyone in the family. Everyone who is physically capable should have a job to do—you'd be surprised how much fun youngsters will have gathering leaves and bagging them (after a few rolls in the piles, of course!). Something as simple as bringing glasses of water to the older folk can make them feel useful and included. By the way, did you take advantage of the photo op when your kiddos were frolicking and laughing?

Bring the Family Together

If you know the day is going to be spent clearing the chaos and clutter, plan on something special as a reward at the end, like dinner. Order pizza in, or maybe head out to your favorite restaurant. Mom and Dad deserve a break, too; especially after a day of backbreaking labor and fielding potential emotional breakdowns amongst the children. Another option is to set aside the day after as a 'lazy day' … board games, movies in the living room, anything that brings you all together without expectation to work, just have fun.

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