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Stay Healthy This Winter

by Tucker Robbins

Winter is a great time to binge-watch our favorite streaming series, read books we haven’t had time to read, gather with friends for dinner and game night, but it’s also a great time for letting our health regimine go by the wayside.  This opens the door for illness, and no one has time for that.  Keep yourself feeling and doing your best with this guideline! 

 

You and Your Home 

  • - If you didn’t get exercise equipment or a gym membership over the holidays, it doesn’t give you an excuse not to exercise.  Walking is really an easy yet important way to burn off those holiday calories.  The cooler temps help you burn more because it takes more energy to stay warm, even while hitting the sidewalk.  A win-win exercise! 

  • - We may not be doing a lot of perspiring, but water is still essential to our good health.  Eight 8 ounce glasses a day will keep you hydrated, and your skin will thank you, too, as water helps battle the dry, itchy skin we get in Winter. 

  • - Keep surfaces in your home wiped down with all-purpose cleaner and warm water.  This is better than using disinfectants, as viruses and bacteria can become resistant to these ingredients, as noted with the FDA banning triclosan, a popular antibacterial additive in hand soaps. 

  • - If you do get sick--stay home and rest! The more you are out and about not only makes you feel worse and lengthens your recovery, the more you spread what you have! 

 

Your Mother Was Right! 

  • - Wash your hands! Using plain soap for forty-five seconds and a warm water rinse is all you need to fight germs.  

  • - Cover sneezes and coughs preferable with a disposable tissue, and if that isn’t available, cover your mouth and nose in the crook of your arm. 

  • - Avoid shaking hands, especially if someone is sick or has been around someone who is sick. 

  • - Take your vitamins! A daily multivitamin at mealtime is a great way to keep you healthy and getting the nutrients you need, especially vitamin D, which goes lacking somewhat in the colder months when we aren’t spending as much time in the sunshine. 

  • - Go to bed! Rest is so important to your overall health, and with the longer nighttime hours, it may be easier for you to get a full 7-8 hours a night.  Your immune system works better when you’re rested up. 

  • - Eat your vegetables--this is a no-brainer, anyway, but leafy greens, beans, and citrus are the best for the antioxidants you need to keep your immune system strong. 

 

Even in Winter, our fast-paced lives can keep us from being diligent about staying healthy when it’s more important than the warm months. The get-togethers in close quarters, die-hards that come to work with a cold, and viruses our kids bring home from school are all standards of germ-sharing this time of year.  Taking care of yourself and your family may take a little extra effort, but you’ll be healthier and happier in the long run. 

 

Courtesy of New Castle County DE Realtors Tucker Robbins and Carol Arnott Robbins.   

 

Photo credit: www.health.com

New Castle County DE Real Estate Market Watch For December 2017

by Tucker Robbins

New Castle County DE listings decreased from 420 new listings in December 2016 down to 389 in December 2017. The average sales price decreased to $248,306, while days on market dropped by 11 days.

Courtesy of New Castle County DE Realtors Tucker Robbins and Carol Arnott Robbins.   

Before You Remodel...

by Tucker Robbins

Depending on whether you are planning to sell your home in the next year or if you are in your forever home, remodeling is a great way to get what you want out of your home, or what buyers want.  There are things to consider before you jump into remodeling. 

 

  • - Decide on a budget, and how you’ll pay for the upgrade.  Consider hiring a financial planner who can help you choose which way is best. 

  • - If you decide to do this project yourself, and you’re not in the construction business, plan on taking much longer than a professional.  Be realistic about your skills and hire help if you need it. 

  • - Acquiring an architect or designer is a good idea if you’re making major changes.  You don’t want to run into major structural or electrical issues and not know what to do. 

  • - Think about how long you want to stay in your home before you invest in big ticket items, like a six-burner range for the kitchen, or expensive hardwood flooring throughout the house.  If your sole plan is to make money from a sale, or if you want and can afford the upgrades, go ahead. But if you’re not going to enjoy those items while you’re living there, consider a simple refurbishing or using what you have if it’s in good working order and won’t look out of place. 

  • - When looking for a contractor, price isn’t necessarily the important thing.  Ask for references, check their license numbers, and call the former clients and ask to see the work that was done, either in photos or in person. The research will be worth it in the end.  

  • - Once you hire your contractor, start getting your paperwork in order.  The contractor has their own responsibilities, and the homeowner has to take care of other items--check this list from realtor.com to see who is responsible for what. 

  • - Planning a timeline with your contractor is especially important, and make sure you leave room for possible unexpected issues. 

  • - Sit down with your family and figure out logistics, especially if you’re remodeling the kitchen or one of the bathrooms in your home.  Remodeling can cause a lot of stress, but if everyone knows what to do before it all happens, things can flow better. 

  • - As with moving, clean out the room before the renovation, giving away, selling or throwing out what you haven’t used in months.  Wrap and store any items you’re keeping in a spare room. 

  • - Before the construction team comes in to begin the project, sit down with your contractor to set location boundaries for the crew and your family, along with other logistics. The crew doesn’t want your children playing around with tools, and you don’t want your good bathroom towels used for grimy hands.  Everyone needs to know what is okay, and what isn’t.   

 

home remodel is a big undertaking; watching renovation shows on television can give the idea that everything goes off without a hitch.  It takes planning, communication and good all-around management to make the process go smoothly, even if you hit a few bumps along the way.   

 

Courtesy of New Castle County DE Realtors Tucker Robbins and Carol Arnott Robbins.   

 

Photo credit: www.emagine.us

Winter Decor Ideas

by Tucker Robbins

The Christmas decorations come down, and everything looks so stark and plain, but it doesn’t have to be that way! Try some of these ideas to brighten up your home during the long winter days.  

 

  • - Change your light bulbs to those that give off a blue hue to mimic sunlight. For dark mornings, invest in a sunrise light that comes on and brightens over a period of time to simulate the sun rising. 

  • - Force the flower bulbs you were given as gifts. Their bright colors will bring Springtime early—indoors, anyway.  

  • - Use light, bright colors everywhere you can—cozy throws, pillows, slipcovers, and accent rug—the light colors reflect what natural light we have coming through the windows and help boost our mood.  

  • - Using natural items isn’t just for Christmas. A basket of pine cones with battery operated LED lights woven through them, or a simple wreath of twigs can double as decor for January.  

  • - Use snowflakes, no matter where you live, to brighten up your interior. Get the kids to cut out paper snowflakes, or make these popsicle stick snowflakes. Hang either on clear monofilament and make a mobile or garland and hang them in a window.  

  • - Cut the arms off of old sweaters and use them to wrap around candle holders and vases for a fun, cozy appearance.  

  • - Clip small branches and twigs, spray them with white spray paint, (or leave them natural), and display them in vases with artificial snow, small pine cones, or whole nuts as a filler.  

  • - Hang a mirror, or several, in a dark spot in your home. It will reflect light and brighten the space.  

  • Winter greens joined with a child’s sled, vintage ice skates, or a harness of jingle bells make great front door adornment.  

  • - Use unused scarves wrapped around a foam wreath core for a fun and unique decoration. Hang a pair of mittens in place of a bow. 

  • - Do you or any friends have flowering trees? If so, ask them for a few snipped branches, and force-bloom them with these tips from Fine Gardening.  The Springtime buds will brighten any room. 

 

Decorating for the colder months doesn’t have to scream Santa. Light colors, natural things and cozy pieces are perfect for brightening the long nights, and making your home as inviting as it was during the holidays.  

 

Courtesy of New Castle County DE Realtors Tucker Robbins and Carol Arnott Robbins.   

 

Photo credit: homebnc.com

Saving Money for Your New Home Down Payment

by Tucker Robbins

With the new year here, many people are thinking about resolutions.  If you’re seriously considering buying a new home, you’ll definitely need to be thinking about having your down payment ready when you find the perfect house.  Follow these ideas for saving as much as you possibly can. 

 

  • - First and foremost, know your house-purchasing budget, and estimate needing 20% of that budget. 

  • - Set up a hands-off down payment high-yield savings or money market account. 

  • - Start cutting out expenses, or find ways to make extra money.  Every little bit counts. 

  • - If you plan on getting an end-of-year bonus or income tax refund, set aside that money to begin your new nest’s egg. 

  • - Sign up with your employer to deposit a portion of your pay into a down payment savings account if you’re not great at putting money into savings.  Most of the time, if you don’t see it, you don’t miss it. 

  • - Receiving gifts from family members towards your down payment require documentation so your  lender, as well as the IRS, knows where the money is coming from, and that the money doesn’t require re-payment.  More information about down payment gifts are here from The Mortgage Reports website. 

  • - Start paying off your credit card debt by paying more than the minimum payment.  Lowering and/or eliminating your card balance also lowers your interest rates, so you can start taking what you’d normally pay on credit cards and depositing it towards your down payment fund. 

  • - If you have investments in stocks or bonds, plan on liquidating those assets when it’s time to purchase your house.  Make sure you document these sales. 

  • - A pay raise at work is great, but if you happen to get one, stay on your old budget, and have the extra pay direct deposited into your down payment account. 

  • - You can always borrow from your 401k or IRA, but make sure you’re not having to pay penalties.  Talk with your account holder before you make any withdrawals. 

 

A down payment, especially at twenty percent, can look daunting.  If it just looks impossible, do your research.  There are many first-time buyer programs available, as well as lower down payment options through the USDA, the VA and state-specific programs.  Zillow has a terrific guide on low down payment guidelines and opportunities. Planning ahead and keeping your eye on your goal will get you well on the way to home ownership. 

 

Courtesy of New Castle County DE Realtors Tucker Robbins and Carol Arnott Robbins.   

 

Photo credit: www.proptiger.com

DIY Home Staging

by Tucker Robbins

You’ve taken the plunge, and put your home on the market.  How do you stage it for potential buyers, and keep it looking great while living your day-to-day? Follow this guide for some practical ideas. 

 

  • 1. Look at your front entry closely. Paint porch rails and columns, and your front door, if necessary. Replace the door, if necessary.  
     

  • 2. Landscaping is extremely important for first impressions--clean out the flowerbeds, put down some new mulch and fresh plants, if the time of year is right. 
     

  • 3. Get rid of clutter and anything that isn’t necessary. Go ahead and pack these things for your potential move so you’ll have one less thing to do when the time comes. 
     

  • 4. Clean out closets, and throw away, give away or store anything that you’re not using or haven’t used in six months. Buyers will look in closets and cabinets to see how much storage is available. 
     

  • 5. Clean, clean, clean.  Your home needs to be spotless, but once it’s done, it’s easy to keep clean for realtor showings.  If you don’t have time, consider hiring a cleaning agency. 
     

  • 6. Using decorative containers to store things that you need while living in your staged home is a great way to hide extra clutter. Totes, benches with storage, and inexpensive shelving with baskets are great ways to hide your can’t-live-without things. 
     

  • 7. Rearranging furniture to make rooms appear larger is a huge plus--even taking out lesser-used pieces makes a big difference in how open your rooms will look.  If you’re unsure of this step, ask your realtor for the name of a decorator who specializes in rearrangement and using what you have to improve the space. 
     

  • 8. If your decor is bold and bright, go ahead and give the walls a fresh coat of neutral paint colors. 
     
     

  • 9. You don’t need to purchase new furniture once you’ve toned down the wall paint--slipcovers are an inexpensive way to make your pieces look like new. 
     

  • 10. Remove personal artwork/photos from your walls and replace with mirrors, inexpensive prints of landscapes or animals.  

 

Once you’re ready for your realtor to schedule showings, give everyone in the house a responsibility schedule, and stick to it.  Be diligent about keeping furniture dusted, floors vacuumed, countertops wiped off, and dishes stashed in the dishwasher. If you just take out an extra twenty minutes every evening or morning, your home will impress your potential buyers. 

 

Courtesy of New Castle County DE Realtors Tucker Robbins and Carol Arnott Robbins.   

 

Photo credit: http://styledstagedsold.blogs.realtor.org/

Displaying blog entries 1-6 of 6

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Contact Information

Photo of Tucker Robbins Real Estate
Tucker Robbins
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices
3838 Kennett Pike
Wilmington DE 19807
(302) 777-7744 (direct)