Cheryl Phelan - Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Plymouth

Posted by Cheryl Phelan on 2/28/2018

Cooking a homemade meal fills the home with mouthwatering aromas. But once you’re done eating and your hunger is satiated, you won’t want those cooking odors to stick around any longer.

Eliminating cooking odors isn’t easy, as they tend to stick to the surfaces of your house in the form of grease splatter, and oils that make their way through the air.

Fortunately, there are many great ways to avoid, reduce, and eliminate household cooking odors so that you don’t have to wake up each morning still smelling last night’s fish dinner.

Know thy enemy

The worst culprits of cooking odor are the ones that make their way into your vents, onto your stovetop, and stick to any surfaces within reach. We’re talking about cooking grease and oils. The best way to manage these odors is to try to limit their ability to spread across your house. When frying on your stovetop, cook with the cover of the pan slightly ajar or purchase a splatter screen. This will greatly reduce the amount of grease that spreads across your kitchen.

Enjoy the outdoors

The grill isn’t just for steaks. If you have a meal that’s likely to leave lingering odors in your home, take it outside to cook on a nice day. You can often buy grill-friendly fry pans and other accessories that will expand the number of meals you can cook outdoors.

Prioritize cleaning

The best chance you have at reducing cooking odors is to clean them up as soon as you’re done eating. Make an agreement that whoever does dishes for the night will also be in charge of wiping down the surfaces of your kitchen.

Open up the windows and turn on your exhaust fan while cleaning too, this will help sweep away the stale, humid air in your kitchen that is likely to settle in the house.

Proper dish management

It can be tempting to leave the dirty dishes in the sink or dishwasher for the next day, but if you do you’re giving cooking odors a free pass to hang around for another night. What’s worse, some odors worsen over time, such as pans that were used for cooking meats.

Odor neutralizers

Some odor neutralizers are more sensational than effective. One common myth is that an open box of baking soda will neutralize odors. While baking soda can be mixed to form a useful cleaning solution (and therefore reducing odors), it doesn’t do much to eliminate odors on its own.

Instead, try cleaning with neutralizing agents. Citrus and vinegar scented cleaners are easy to make, inexpensive, and don’t contain any dangerous chemicals.

Another option would be to use odor neutralizing air fresheners, fabric fresheners, and candles. If you have furniture that tends to attract cooking odors, you can spray them lightly with a fabric freshener or wipe them down with dryer sheets.  

Categories: cooking   odors   remove home odors  

Posted by Cheryl Phelan on 2/21/2018

When you’re shopping for a home, it’s easy to be overzealous in your attempt to find the perfect property. One of the biggest regrets of home buyers is that of paying too high a price for their dream home. There should be a balance between cost and the right property for you. No matter what kind of house you’re looking to buy or where you plan to buy it, a little planning goes a long way to help you get the most for your dollar when buying a home. Below, you’ll find some tips to help you avoid the dreaded mistake of overpaying for a home.

 Look For Amenities That Increase Value

Does the neighborhood you’re looking to buy in have a lot of cool perks? Perhaps the property is close to the heart of downtown or close to one of the most desirable schools in the area. These features add value to the home based on the demand in the neighborhood. 

You should also consider if the neighborhood is known as what’s termed “up and coming.” The potential that a neighborhood is also a factor in the price of a home. Is there a lot of construction going on in the area? Is the home you’re buying in a great area but considered a “fixer upper”? High potential properties in desirable areas can actually give you a bargain. A nice property in an area that is still being established can also be a bargain but beware. You may end up paying a higher price as sellers and developers understand that people are eager to move into the neighborhood. Also, if a neighborhood seems to be built up too much, it’s not a good sign. An overdeveloped area can lead to decreased property values over time.         

Inside the home, look for things that have been updated to increase the value of the property. An updated kitchen and bathroom add the most cost to a home as these are the most expensive rooms to renovate. Other perks in a home that greatly increase the value include new flooring, new roof, being situated on a cul-de-sac or dead end street, and easy access to highways and main routes.  

Know That Some Features Decrease Value

Things like power lines, poor economic growth in the community, high-traffic areas, foreclosures, and unkept homes can all drag down the value of a property. If you happen to be looking in one of these areas, understand that you shouldn’t be paying top dollar for a home there. Look for bargains. Whether you plan to stay or simply flip a property, you need to know at what point the price will be right without overpaying for the home.    

Categories: house prices  

Posted by Cheryl Phelan on 2/14/2018

You’re getting your first home and finally have the freedom and room to create your own gaming center. Whether in a spare room or your living room you can have the ultimate gaming experience you’ve always dreamed of. Here are seven video gaming station necessities that will keep you in top form:

First things first, a tv stand unit with plenty of room for all of your consoles and game collection. Think about how you would like to show off your collection. By console? By model year? Or alphabetical? Keep this in mind as you choose your shelving so you have plenty of space for your existing games as well as the ones to come.

A cable management system planned ahead of time. Cables are always a pain but when setting up several systems it quickly becomes a nightmare. The good news is there are several ways to organize all those wires. You can use color-coded zip ties, a specially designed cable organizing box or save up those plastic bread tags to label cables. And of course be sure to plug them all into a surge protector.

The ultimate gaming chair is a must for those all-nighters grinding through the latest game. And when sitting in the same chair while logging all those hours you want to make sure the one you choose is comfortable and ergonomic. And, of course, a comfortable couch for gaming with friends. A set that offers recliners, cup holders and USB ports is always a win.

Perfect lighting and reduce eye strain by choosing tinted bulbs that will eliminate glare. Alternatively, paper lantern lamps also create a soft glowing light. If you want to play with more focus for longer this is key. A glare is not only detrimental to your eye health but can also seriously impact your gameplay for the worse.     

The little big things: Prioritize bandwidth with a router with QoS option to prioritize your console for seamless gameplay. Charging stations not only keep controllers ready for gameplay but are also a great way to keep them organized. Surround sound or at the very least a sound bar takes your game experience to the next level by immersing you into your world of choice.

Moving into a new home is an exciting time for many reasons, but for many gamers, it also means the ability to finally create the gaming center they’ve always dreamed of. It’s easy to get caught up in creating a theme or pulling it together as fast as possible to get gaming sooner. However, taking the time to create an organized space that prioritizes your health and overall experience you’ll set yourself up for years of peak-performance game plan ahead.

Posted by Cheryl Phelan on 2/7/2018

If your household budget seems a little tight, lately, there may be several ways to ease it.

It's amazing how many people do not keep track of where their money goes, which is often the reason it disappears so quickly!

Another piece of the puzzle is the fact that we're all creatures of habit. With few exceptions, most of us go through the motions of our lives on auto-pilot. In some ways, that works to our advantage, but in other ways, it can hinder our progress.

Saving Money Begins With Awareness

One approach to reducing stress and improving the quality of life is to save money and curb expenses, whenever possible. That doesn't necessarily mean you have to deprive yourself or your family of anything you need or want. What it does mean is eliminating spending that is wasteful, unnecessary, or redundant.

The first step involves sitting down and creating a household budget on your computer. There's no need to purchase and learn any fancy software. Many people are comfortable with creating budgets and other documents on Excel spreadsheets or Quicken, while others prefer setting up simple tables on a word processing program like MS Word. The interesting thing about creating a document with your monthly expenses and income on it is that it provides a visual depiction of your cash flow. In other words, it shows where, when, and how your money is coming and going!

Analyze and Take Action

After you've identified areas in which you can cut back without causing any hardship, the next step is to actually implement those changes. If you weren't able to identify any sources of wasteful, unnecessary, or excessive spending from creating a budget, then take a look at your monthly invoices for items like credit cards, cable TV, cell phones, and other services.

By examining the services you're paying for, you may realize you're paying for more than you need or even use. Sometimes by switching your service plan to a more basic option, you can save hundreds of dollars a year. In the case of credit cards, if you've been paying your bills on time and not making a habit of maxing out your account, you may be able to request and receive a lower interest rate. This is yet another way to reduce your expenses and keep more of what your earn. Comparing insurance plans and switching to a more economical plan or provider is another strategy for reducing costs and easing budgetary strains.

There are also free worksheets, budget calculators, and other resources online that can help you take charge of your spending and saving habits. Setting financial goals, establishing priorities, controlling impulse buying, saving a portion of your income (especially bonuses, tax refunds, and raises) and keeping track of your spending on a daily basis are also key parts of an effective money management plan. As a side note: If you need to consult with a reliable credit counselor for help, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission provides helpful information.

Posted by Cheryl Phelan on 1/31/2018

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.