Things to Clean Just Once a Year

THINGS TO CLEAN

Cleaning: some hate it, some love it. For those who are not huge fans, there is good news! Not everything in our homes needs to be cleaned daily, weekly, or even monthly. Here are a few things that (typically) only need to be cleaned once a year:

Upholstered Furniture
If you have pets, vacuuming your furniture at least weekly is a must. If your furniture sees a lot of wear and tear, call in a professional! Don’t be the home where guests are afraid to sit on the couch- give a furniture cleaner a call once during the spring and vacuum and spot clean the rest of the year!

Drapes and Curtains
We often underestimate the amount of dust in our home, and this can be evident if curtains or drapes are moved. Minimize this by taking them all down each spring and throwing them in the wash. It really is as easy as that. If you have curtains that can’t go in your regular washer and dryer, send them out to be dry cleaned! Your allergies will be happy you did.

Vents and Air ducts
Have you ever looked closely at the air ducts in your home? Try it. You are likely to find a buildup of dirt and dust on one side of the vent or the other. Just take a duster, slightly damp cloth, or vacuum wand and clean it off! It’s simple, and you won’t need to worry as much about dirt and dust being blown about your home.

Carpets
Just like furniture, carpets should be vacuumed regularly- especially if you have pets. But when was the last time your carpets were shampooed? If you have more than one furry friend, this should likely be done every six months. If not, once a year is sufficient to remove that layer of dirt that your vacuum just doesn’t reach. Don’t want to pay a pro? Rent a carpet cleaner and do it yourself!

Clean Around Large Appliances
When we think about truly deep cleaning the kitchen, we often think of pulling out the refrigerator and cleaning behind it. This should also be done with the stove, as who knows what has made its way back there throughout the year.

When you think of large appliances, however, do your washer and dryer come to mind? If it has been a while since you’ve cleaned around these essential parts of your home, add it to your yearly list! The buildup of lint and dust around a dryer can be a huge fire hazard, and it builds up more than we know. Vacuum your lint tray, underneath the washer and dryer, and have your dryer vent cleaned every 12-18 months.

Last But Not Least: Purge
Purging can be therapeutic for many, and terrifying for many more. The fact remains however, that we all have things we don’t use. Once a year, go through your garage, closets, and other storage spaces and get rid of those things you haven’t used since you went through it the year before. You will find so much more room for the things you really love!

Sometime It’s Good to Borrow Less

SOMETIMES IT'S

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again; buying a home can be daunting. It is likely the biggest purchase you’ll ever make, and there are many factors that could affect the outcome. We are here to help minimize the potential for mistakes!

If you’re a first-time home buyer and looking ere on the safe side or mortgage payments, it is good to realize that it isn’t always a bad thing to borrow less than the amount for which you qualify. Here are a few ways this can be a benefit:

The Mortgage Payment Isn’t Your Only New Cost
Many buyers think “if I can afford this much in rent, I can afford this much in a mortgage payment”. While this may be true, don’t forget to factor in things like homeowners or property insurance, higher utilities costs, and property taxes (which can increase each year!). It is important to be comfortable with these costs for the foreseeable future, without anticipating a job change or salary increase.

You Never Know What is Going to Pop Up
New homes can come with unexpected expenses, regardless of how well the inspection turned out. Being able to pay for the unexpected things in life (new water heaters, car maintenance, etc.) is a comfort that one shouldn’t give up in favor of a larger monthly mortgage payment.

You NEVER Want to Miss a Payment!
Again, you never know what will happen in the future and you do not want to take on a 20-30 year loan with any uncertainty. Opt for a monthly amount that you know you are comfortable with. If you get lucky, some lenders will allow you to pay more than your monthly payment with the goal of paying it down more quickly, and you can always look into refinancing options when the time comes.

Buying a home doesn’t have to be difficult or stressful! Give us a call for more information on how to make the process an enjoyable one.

What You Should Know About Home Appraisals

Home Appraisals (1)

Both the appraisal and inspection processes can be intimidating from both buyer and seller perspectives. Both take a very nit-picky look at your home, and both can affect the final negotiated price. Take a look at a few appraisal-related questions that we’ve answered for you:

How do inspections and appraisals differ?
Inspectors come to a property to gauge any concerns that may cause issues after the deal is done, while appraisers come specifically to assess the value of a property.

Why are appraisals necessary?
Lenders will not loan funds when a home has not been appraised; they want as much information as possible so they can loan the appropriate amount. For example, the lender does not want to “over-loan” on a property in the event that it is foreclosed and they are left with a home they cannot sell for the loan amount.

Who pays for the appraisal; the seller or the buyer?
Typically, the seller pays for the appraisal during closing the closing process.

How does the appraiser determine the property value?
Appraisals take into account key features of the home, such as bedrooms, bathrooms, square footage, and overall condition. Another huge factor is information about other comparable properties close to yours; property values surrounding you can have great impact on your home’s appraised price.

Is there anything the homeowner can do to improve the appraisal?
Save a copy of your seller’s disclosure form when initially so you can make note of any changes or improvements you’ve made to the home. Once the appraisal appointment has been made, speak to your Realtor about the possibility of him/her being present during the appraisal so they can point out any unseen and possibly value-increasing features.

Ten Commandments of Buying a Home

Commandments of Buying a Home (1)

 

There are some obvious checklist items that need to be taken care of when buying a home (i.e. getting loan pre-qualification and approval), however there are a few possibly less-obvious things that many new home buyers may not consider.

  • Don’t change or quit your current job while you are in the process of getting a loan or finalizing paper work.
  • Put off other large purchases (i.e. a new car) until after all is said, done, and signed with your new home.
  • Keep credit lines current and don’t miss payments on already existing credit cards or loans.
  • Maintain your savings account.
  • Identify all debt or lines of credit on your loan application.
  • Avoid having other inquiries on your credit before your loan has been approved and you have keys to your new home.
  • Don’t make any large, seemingly random cash deposits into your bank account.
  • Avoid co-signing loans for anyone else, as this will definitely affect your credit “worthiness” in the eyes of loan officers.

A Guide to Guest Rooms

A Gui

We’ve all stayed in that home of a friend or family member, who just hasn’t quite hit all of the consideration points when it comes to hosting guests. Anacortes is a popular destination and guests and family often visit your home in Anacortes during the holidays.

When preparing a guest room for any number of people staying for any length of time just think; how would I want to be treated? What would make me uncomfortable in someone else’s home? Guest rooms do not need to be extravagant or even costly, however a little bit of thoughtfulness can go a long way when guests consider whether or not they would stay with you when visiting Anacortes.

Keep it Clean
First and foremost, keep your home clean! Guests don’t need to be able to smell fresh furniture polish when they walk in, but cleaning up after children and pets is a must. Homes are made to be lived in and it isn’t necessary to make it look like a magazine photo, however toys and pet hair shouldn’t be inhibiting seating, dining, or sleeping areas. Dirty dishes need to be taken care of, and obvious stains or spills need to be cleaned up. One should not leave guests wondering how long that spaghetti sauce has been drying on the counter or whether or not a pillow case is freshly used from a child’s room.

Don’t Let Them Get Hungry
Preparing gourmet dinners is often not a top priority when hosting guests, and while it really doesn’t need to be, try sticking to conventional meal times when able. 7:00 shouldn’t be rolling around without any mention of dinner, and guests aren’t likely to bring it up if they feel it would be an inconvenience. In the event that you are not up for cooking for everyone, check with guests ahead of time to see if they might like to eat out.

Don’t Under-do the Bed Coverings
Temperature is a fickle thing to accommodate. Everyone sleeps differently and unfortunately we can’t special-order mattresses each time we have guests in town. We can, however, do our best to make sure the bed, pull-out, futon- whatever- is able to be diversified. No matter what time of year, leave an extra blanket and extra pillow on the bed and put a fan in the room.

Offer Privacy
It isn’t always possible to have a separate guest room, and that’s okay! Even if your guests will be sleeping on the couch, you can take steps to make sure they are awarded some amount of privacy. Offer them an area to store their belongings (i.e. behind a couch, in a specific corner, or even in a trunk or bin of some sort), and make sure pets and children aren’t going near them.

If you love to entertain family and friends but don’t have enough “room” to do so, maybe it is time to upgrade to a bigger home. If you feel like you need a new home in Anacortes, email or give us a call! We can help evaluate your situation and guide you during the process of finding a home to buy in Anacortes. Need to sell your home first? No problem! We can give you a personalized market analysis of your home and let you know what the value of your home is in the current Anacortes real estate market.

Guest Room

Taking Care of Large Appliances

Appliances

The large appliances in your home can be some of the most expensive items you own. Fortunately with a little light maintenance, you can prolong both the life of and quality of your appliances. This is specially important if you are thinking of selling your home in Anacortes.

The number one rule with any appliance, whether it be your washer and dryer or stove top, is to wipe up any spills as soon as they happen. However, since some appliances are used differently and more regularly than others, some require a little more attention on a more frequent basis.

Oven and Stovetop
After time, your oven will start exuding odors such as slight burning smells when turned on to preheat. When this happens, you can either utilize the self-cleaning feature that many ovens have, or wipe down the interior with a store-bought oven cleaner. When using a cleaner like this, you should absolutely wear rubber gloves and possibly a face mask as they possess very strong chemicals. To minimize oven residue, you can also purchase an oven liner that sits underneath the oven grates and catches any crumbs or spills that can easily be wiped off with soap and water.

Stovetops are some of the most-used areas in the kitchen, and have the potential to collect the most bacteria. Whether your stovetop has electric coils, gas burners, or a glass surface, crumbs and bacteria always have places to hide. If you have either coils or gas burners, be sure to remove them and wipe them, and the areas underneath them with soap and water. With glass stoves, check the seam that runs around the edge of the stove; it is a great area to collect crumbs and dust.

Microwave
Microwaves are one of the easiest things to clean, however are commonly one of the most ignored. To easily remove spills and crumbs, microwave a cup of water for 2-3 minutes, then allow it to sit for about 30 seconds once finished. The steam from the water will be absorbed into the food stains and will then only need to be wiped down with a damp cloth or sponge. To remove any odors, spray your cloth or sponge with vinegar or lemon juice to remove smells completely.

Refrigerator
Does anyone actually enjoy cleaning the refrigerator? This is one large appliance that can trap smells, hide bad food, and help us to ignore our food hoarding tendencies all at once- and this is just the inside of the beast.
Condenser coils, outside vents, and gaskets collect dust, pet hair, and anything else floating around. One can easily use a vacuum wand to remove loose debris, them simply wipe down with a damp cloth or paper towel. You might be surprised at how different your fridge looks!

Washer and Dryer
Lint and dust can build up in cracks and crevices of your washer and dryer and if left unattended, can eventually become a fire hazard. Wipe a dryer sheet (it picks up tons of dirt!) or cloth along the back of your washer and dryer to pick up any lint remains, hair or dust. Also wipe along the ledge inside the washer lid, as soap and dirt can build there as well. Once or twice each year, pull both appliances away from the wall to check that large dust bunnies haven’t begun inhabiting that area. You should also have your dryer vent cleaned yearly to prevent fire hazards and the overheating of dryer coils.

So remember, just a few minutes of your day will not only help your appliances stay clean but also extend their life. If you are thinking about selling your home in Anacortes, clean appliances will help add value to your home!

For more tips on adding value to your home, text, call or email us today! We will be happy to help you.

Allergy-Proofing Your Home

Allergy-Proofing

 

Spring is the prime time for dust and all of the typical allergens to make themselves known in our homes. Whether you are renting your home, already own it, or are looking to sell your home in Anacortes, take the time now to set up a defense against sniffling noses and sore throats, before the full heat of summer hits.

To give you an idea of the best ways to begin allergy-proofing your home, here are the most common allergens, where they are found, and how to combat them!

Mold
If you live in an area with high humidity mold is absolutely something you need to be cognizant of. Kitchens and bathrooms are known for growing mold of all kinds, and basements can hide the majority of mold growth in places you wouldn’t expect. Mold goes crazy in cracks where water can seep in, high ledges (such as the tops of showers), faucet bases, and under carpets that may have been subject to a leak. Also, keep an eye on shower curtains to make sure pink mold hasn’t begun growing on the bottom. Anacortes is definitely high humidity, so if you are buying or living in the area, make sure you keep an eye out!

To combat: spray and wipe these surfaces twice weekly with either bleach, or a water/vinegar mixture. This will both clean it up, and keep it from growing as frequently.

Dust Mites
Dust mites are one of the hardest allergens to protect against, as they live where humans and pets most shed skin (gross).

To combat: The most problematic areas for dust mites are mattresses and pillows however you can protect yourself by using anti-allergen coverings and washing your bedding and curtains regularly. Certain essential oils, such as Melaleuca, can also help deter dust mites when sprayed on mattresses.

Pets
We love our furry friends, and Anacortes is definitely a pet friendly town. However, the dander from their skin is what causes allergic reactions in many people. Dander builds up unknowingly in corners of walls, carpets, and furniture upholstery.

To combat:
• Bathe your pets regularly! Just like humans can shed dandruff, pets shed the same way.
• Try to keep your pets off furniture, and clean pet beds a few times each week.
• Vacuum, then dust three or more times each week.
• Use quality filters in furnaces and air conditioners.
• Sanitize any overly-dusty areas regularly to prevent dirt and grime build up.

Moving to Anacortes soon? Let us know if you would like a personalized tour of Anacortes neighborhoods. Let us show you the true beauty of Anacortes. Also, read about our favorite Cleaning Tips and Tricks to make your move an easy one!

Planning Your Garden for Spring

PLANNING YOUR GARDEN

 

Enhancing curb appeal includes enhancing your garden! Time for fresh flower scents, new plants, and working outside. Many bulbs have already begun to bloom, however the good news is that you can buy flowers and plants that have already bloomed and your yard will instantly look great! This is also the time to consider any fall bulbs or crops you want to have around once the summer is over.

Our Favorite Ways to Begin Planning Your Garden

Make a Sketch of Your Yard
You don’t necessarily need accurate measurements to do this (although if you want a to-scale sketch of your yard, feel free!), but it is necessary to visualize where you want everything to go. Drawing it out will help you determine how your yard will look once everything is in place and allow you to better allocate your money.

Plant Trees First
As trees typically take up more space in yards and require a little more work, it is best to get them done first and plant smaller items around them.

Year-Round Plants and Upgrades
Some plants such as shrubs and bushes that don’t “bloom” can provide aesthetic appeal to your yard year-round. If you plan to implement any of these, plant them when you do your trees to again get bigger items out of the way. This is also the time to work on any yard enhancements such as new pathways or retaining walls that will add dimension to the yard as a whole.

Perennials, Bulbs, and Annuals
This is the time to have fun and add color to your yard! Many spring bulbs are available for purchase and already in full-bloom by May first. Determine what feel you want your yard to have and browse a couple of nurseries and garden centers. If you are unsure of how to care for the plants you are looking for, the individuals that work there will likely be happy to share their knowledge.

Having a well-planned garden always attracts the eyes of passersby, especially those eyes that are interested in purchasing your home.

Contact us for more tips on how to enhance your home and garden for the market! If you are looking to buy in Anacortes, WA or anywhere in Skagit County, we can be your guide in finding a great home in a beautiful part of the Pacific Northwest.

Home of the Week! 2515 16th Street

2515 16th St in Anacortes

Location, privacy, and beautiful customization all in one; what more could you ask for?

This home located at 2515 16th Street in Anacortes, Washington provides is the perfect family home with a large lot and beautiful deck space off of the dining room and kitchen. New Hardi siding was installed and the exterior freshly painted in 2015. In addition, new window screens were added earlier this year.

The gorgeous slate and hardwood entry way invites you to the living room which offers a welcoming wood fireplace and picturesque windows to provide a comfortable space to both relax and entertain. Continue to the ample and bright dining room which has access to the back deck. Updated paint and crown molding have added a fresh look to the home and take away the worry of needing to update main living areas right away.

The kitchen is a dream with granite counters, slate back splash and newer stainless steel appliances. The walk-in pantry is convenient and spacious.

With three bedrooms, a HUGE recreational room, two and a half bathrooms and a separate office area, this home is not lacking in space and organization possibilities. The large master suite has its own wood fireplace, a ceiling fan, generous walk-in closet, and French doors that open to granite counters, Rosewood laminate cabinets, and a relaxing soaking tub in the master bathroom.

If you are looking for a spacious, inviting home in Anacortes, come visit this beautiful property! Call, text, or email us to schedule a private showing.

Click here to see the full description of 2515 16th St in Anacortes and view the full photo gallery. No registration required!

Understanding Real Estate CMA’s

real estate cma's

In Real Estate terms, CMA stands for comparative market analysis; in other words, the report provided by a realtor when they conduct an in-depth analysis of a home’s worth in your market. If you are considering selling your home in Anacortes, we can conduct an in-depth comparative market analysis and help you make the most of the information. Use our checklist below to make sure that you have an adequate understanding of real estate CMA’s.

cmas

Before committing to anything, be sure you are working with a real estate agent you can trust. Our goal as your agent is to make the Anacortes home buying or selling process stress free and smooth. After all, we work for you! If you would like a complimentary market analysis of your home in Anacortes, please call, text or email us today! We will provide you with an up to date market value of your home in Anacortes.