Homes of Distinction Realty



Posted by Homes of Distinction Realty on 5/28/2017

It's no fun living in a hot, stuffy house. Every year, you know it's coming. In a few months, temperatures are going to rise. Let temperatures and humidity rise too much and you could rush out to the nearest home goods store and buy an air conditioner. You also might start turning your air conditioner down so low that your utility bills escalate.

Quick actions to lower home cooling costs

Despite how long you've been giving into this trend, it doesn't have to go this way. You can be proactive. By preparing to save on home cooling costs now, you could avoid making emergency decisions that force you to spend hundreds of dollars. Following are quick steps that you could take to start creating a fuel efficient house.

  • Install a ceiling fan. Choose a ceiling fan that has a light and you'll get a double benefit.
  • Clean air filters for fans and air conditioners.Replace filters as needed.
  • Check to see that air conditioning air compressor fans are clean. Remove objects that are blocking the fans from spinning freely.
  • Examine and replace coolant lines that show signs of damage.
  • Replace insulation throughout your home as needed.
  • Buy heavy duty room fans for rooms that you spend the most time in. Adding a heavy duty fan to your bedroom could keep you from turning on the air conditioner at night until it's deep into summer.
  • Make sure that air vents are cleaned.
  • Cook at night when it's cooler. Cook enough food to store in the refrigerator or freezer for several days.
  • Take cool showers instead of soaking in a hot bath.
  • Place locked screen shields and alarms on windows that you plan to open during warmer months.

Your utility company may partner with you to lower home cooling costs

Prepare to save on home cooling costs while temperatures are still cool or cold. That gives you at least three weeks to set yourself up to save on home cooling utilities. The extra time is budget friendly. Time to save on home cooling costs also lets you relax and measure how well the energy efficient actions you have taken are working.

Don't rule out working with your utility company to reduce your home cooling costs. Some utility companies include ways to save on home cooling costs in individual utility bill mailings. Your utility company is also good resource to work with should you find it hard to pay all of your cooling expenses on time.

Although utility companies generally don't provide as much financial support during hot months the way they do during winter, reaching out to your utility company could pay off. Set up a payment schedule, if necessary. And ask the representative who you speak with to share even more ways that you could save on home cooling costs. The representative may know why specific cooling services are higher in certain areas where you live and what you can do to cut into these expenses.




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Homes of Distinction Realty on 5/21/2017

A home is more than your castle. It’s the place that may have the greatest impact on you,packing a bigger emotional and psychological wallop than your workplace. Whether you recognize it or not, colors, textures, sounds, designs and scents greet and surround you the entire time that you’re inside your house.

Your house could be bringing your mood up or down

Each room offers a different feeling. Test it out the next time you’re home. Notice if you feel more relaxed and open while sitting on the sofa in your den or family room compared to how you feel in the dining room or living room, especially if your dining room and living room have a more elegant or sophisticated look than your den has.

But, it’s not just colors, textures, designs, sights and sounds that influence your mood.The level of cleanliness and order in your house also impacts the way that you feel. Similar to how a cloudy day can cause you to feel less energetic and hopeful, too much clutter, disorganization and dirtiness can cause you to feel confined and out of sorts.

According to a Psychology Today report, messiness can create stress, anxiety, guilt and frustration in humans. You can feel guilty if your home is messy and you can’t find important documents and are late to meetings. Productivity and creativity also drop when you are in an unclean environment. Struggle to concentrate is another byproduct of a dirty home.

Those are psychological impacts that a dirty or cluttered home can have on you. There are physical outcomes to living in a dirty or cluttered house. Dirt and clutter can agitate allergens. It can invite bacteria into your home, contaminating food and living spaces. Pests, including insects, bed bugs and rodents can find hiding places in your home if your house becomes too dirty or too cluttered.

More benefits of keeping a clean home

These critters can bring a host of contaminants inside your house. If your house is too dirty, you may not notice that you have pests and have a false belief that your house is cleaner than it actually is. Left to themselves, pests can chew holes into your walls, infiltrate bed linen and carpet and crawl on your skin. Cockroaches, ants and bed bugs alone are enough of a nuisance to motivate you to conduct a thorough cleaning of your home.

Get into the habit of cleaning your home from top to bottom at least twice a year. This includes cleaning the attic, basement and garage. During these thorough cleanings, also clean your gutters. It can reduce the amount of time that you devote to weekly house cleanings.

Regular house cleanings also help to keep your home’s value at optimum levels, putting you in a good position should you decide to put your house on the market. After all, people will pay more for a clean house that looks like it has been cared for regularly, than they will a house that looks run down.

If you think back to when you first bought your house, you may easily recall just how you felt as you stood in a certain room. Those emotions are still present. They’re just buried beneath habits and busyness. Give yourself the chance to step into newness. Gift yourself with a new start by giving your home a thorough cleaning. Empower yourself further by removing clutter from your home.




Tags: house cleaning  
Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Homes of Distinction Realty on 5/14/2017

Cooking with fresh herbs is infinitely better than using the dried out flakes you'll find at the grocery store. Not only are they packed with much more flavor, but they'll also save you money in the process. Sure, there are some herbs you probably won't use very often and should just keep a small jar of them in your pantry. However, certain herbs are so useful that it's worth having on your window sill to pick from when you need them. If you're thinking about starting an indoor or outdoor herb garden, here are the best herbs to put in it that will spice up your recipes and save you money at the checkout line.

Basil

Number one on our list is sweet basil. Basil can be chopped up into sauces and salads, or it can be used whole on pizzas and sandwiches. For a great snack, toss some olive oil with chunks of tomato, mozzarella, and chopped basil. It's the perfect combination of tangy, sweet, and refreshing. Basil is also great for making tea and has a strong and pleasant aroma. If you start running low, you can start a new plant with clippings from an old one. As you pick from the plant, be sure to remove the leaf node (the stem part of the leaf) fully so your plant keeps producing more leaves.

Parsley

A good herb to pair with basil is parsley. It goes great with pasta dishes, sauce, pizza, or eggs. Like basil, parsley can be harvested as needed. Simply cut the outermost leaves for use and leave the inner leaves to mature. However, parsley is also easy to dry and store. To dry parsley, hang it up in a warm place that has plenty of shade and ventilation. Test it by seeing if it crumbles in your hand. Once it does, crumble the rest up and store it in an air tight jar.

Thyme

Arguably one of the the prettiest herbs on the list, thyme fills its long stems with small flowers and fills the air with a pleasant scent. Thyme goes well with many vegetables and types of seafood and is also common in many teas. If you live in a temperate climate, you could also try growing some thyme as an ornamental and aromatic shrub in your yard.

Mint

As you would suspect, mint smells and tastes...minty. To impress everyone at your summer cookout, place some mint leaves from your garden into their ice cold drinks. Like many other items on the list, mint is also great in tea and can be paired up with basil, lavender, and many other herbs to make a great herbal tea concoction.

Lavender

Lavender is another pretty flowering herb. However, due to its size, it's best grown outdoors. You can make several homemade items from lavender including soaps, fragrance sprays, tea, and more. However, be sure to read up on caring for lavender plants as they require a lot of sunlight and well-drained soil. To make use of its size and aesthetics outside, you can plant lavender along walkways in your yard or garden.




Tags: home   Gardening   garden   mint   herbs   herb   herb garden   basil   parsley   thyme   lavender  
Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Homes of Distinction Realty on 5/7/2017

Have you ever looked around your home and just felt that something was missing? Have you had the feeling that something was off in your home? There are certain design and decor mistakes that you can make inside of your home that may not be so obvious. We’ll give you the information that you need to fix these mistakes and bring back the balance in your home. 


Not Enough Lighting


Either you don’t have enough lights in a room, or the lights are not in a good place. You need to make a plan with your lighting as you would with your furniture pieces. Make sure work areas have task lighting, that accent lamps are present to add personality and overhead lighting is spread or or set with a dimmer. This will diversify your lighting types and strengths to help every area of each room be properly lit.   


Everything Is Against The Wall


If you enter a room and everything is up against the walls, there’s a problem there! It seems cold and kind of boring if a room appears this way. Make sure that things are at least a few feet apart within a room. Also, try and put some pieces of furniture at angles. Even if you simply put the area rug at an angle, it will make a difference. 


There’s Too Much Clutter


If you have too much “stuff” in any room, it can be an issue. If there’s no focal point, it’s easy to overlook each piece. Decorate your rooms so that everything has a place to stand out. Purge your decor at least once a year in order to keep the things that you really love around. Get rid of the tired, boring decor that’s not adding anything to your home. You can also switch up your accessories a few times a year and put away decor that doesn’t gel with the season. 


One Color Rules All 


You shouldn’t have too much of one color in any room of your home. You’ll need to be sure that you mix it up. If the room is a beige color and your couch is also a neutral tone, place some colorful throw pillows on the sofa to get a pop of color and a bright effect in he room. Choose artwork carefully as well, helping to contrast the wall colors.  


There’s No Personality In Your Home


If everything in your home is polished, there’s little room for you to shine through. The most important thing about home decorating is for your personality to be present. While following design rules is a good idea, don’t be so caught up in the “rules” that you forget to show what you like. Let your home represent who you are.





Posted by Homes of Distinction Realty on 4/30/2017

If money is tight right now, or if you're just trying to live frugally, there are a number of ways to save money without having to drastically change your lifestyle. One of the best way to save money is by going through all of your recurring bills to see where you can eliminate or reduce spending. In our age of user-friendly, advanced technology, there are more services available to us than ever before. You can call an Uber with one tap on your phone or order more laundry detergent by clicking the Amazon Dash button in your cabinet. With services this readily available to us, it's hard not to sign up. Read on to learn how to save some money on your monthly services without having to sacrifice too many of life's comforts.

Utilities

There are countless ways to save on water, heat, and electricity. Yes, you can turn down the heat in the winter time and take shorter showers, but there are less commonly known ways to save as well. For example:
  • Keep multiple electric-powered items plugged into one power-strip and power off the strip overnight. This will stop those items from consuming electricity in standby mode
  • Insulate your windows in the winter time by using caulking, weather stripping, and shrink wrap your windows with heat shrink film to keep the heat in
  • Some Saturday afternoon make a checklist of all of your home's lightbulbs. Then go out and replace them with energy efficient CFLs and LED bulbs
  • Hang clothes on the line in fair weather and wash your clothes in cold water; much of the energy consumed by washing clothes goes to heating the water up first

Monthly services

Remember when there were only a few good shows on TV and paying for cable was the only way to watch them? Now any given household can have Netflix, Amazon Streaming, HBO Go, and countless other monthly services for watching TV. To save on watching your favorite movies and television, try these tips:
  • Ditch Netflix DVD services or expensive premium cable channels and rent from your local library system. Through inter-library loans you can get the newest movies and TV shows shipped to your library for free
  • Cancel your cable bill and try a cheap service like Hulu. If you're worried about missing the news, use websites or news apps on your smart TV to keep up to date on the issues
  • Negotiate rates with your provider. Sometimes all it takes is a phone call to learn about better options. Since many people are taking the internet-only approach, cable companies are desperate to maintain customers
Saving on telephone bills:
  • First, ditch the landline. You probably only get telemarketers calling there anyway; what do you have to lose?
  • Use a family plan and calculate your data usage. Make sure your family is on wifi whenever possible. You can save up to $30/month just by having a lower data plan
  • Negotiate with your provider. Reminding your provider that you have other options when it comes to cell phones can get you a better rate.
General tips and tricks:
  • If you have a student email address (.edu) this can be used to gain discounts from a number of monthly services
  • Ask your providers to apply promotions to your account. If you see that something you pay for is running a deal, call and ask if you can have the rate as well. You're a loyal customer after all
  • If you've built up good credit, look for lower interest rates online. There are apps and websites dedicated to finding you better deals