Old Man Winter is on his way! Before he is here to stay for a few months, get these things done BEFORE the snow flies:
Cut the power to your A/C – Cut the power to your central air condition by flipping the breaker in your electrical box so your compressor doesn’t get damaged during the frigid weather.
Make sure your heating system is ready – Depending on the type of heating system you have, there are a few maintenance things you should do before the temperatures really start to dip. We always recommend having a professional check and tune up your heating system once a year… And don’t forget to change your furnace filter!
Disconnect all hoses and shut off outdoor faucets – Make sure to disconnect all hoses before the weather is consistently before freezing and turn off outdoor faucets. Typically, outdoor faucet shut offs are in your basement near where the spigot is located.
Check your insulation – Having the correct amount of insulation will keep your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer which will cut down on your energy costs. It’s also a place where mice and other critters like to call home. Check of your attic to make sure there is plenty of insulation and to ensure that there aren’t any unwanted guests.
Switch ceiling fans to reverse – Most people think of turning on their ceiling fans when their home needs to be cooled down, but many ceiling units come with a switch that reverses the direction of the blades. Clockwise rotation can help keep your home warmer (and cut down your heating costs!) because the fan will circulate the warmer air that is near the ceiling back into the living space.
Insulate your pipes – Insulating your water piping will not only decrease the chance of them freezing, but it will also help you save money for your hot water. Pre-slit pipe foam is available at most hardware stores. Cut it to size and fasten it in place with duct tape.
Dodge the drafts – Drafts can waste up to 30% of your energy use. Check doors and windows for any drafts. Install storm doors and windows if you have them. If you can feel the cold air coming from underneath exterior doors, use a draft stopper or place a rolled-up bath towel underneath the door.
Clean your gutters and down spouts – Clogged gutters can lead to damaging ice dams and roof leaks in the winter. If you don’t have gutter guards, make sure they are clear of leaves and other debris before the first snow fall.
A huge THANK YOU to everyone who joined us for our client appreciation event at the Mallards game this week! We had nearly 130 guest, along with a ton of fun. We are so appreciative of everyone who has supported The Minter Team these last few years.
Market Advice for Buyers: 2018 has been a challenging year for many homebuyers. But so was 2017, 2016, and 2015. In fact, the last 5-6 years have really pushed homebuyers in many areas out of their comfort zone as inventory of available homes continues to drop, prices rise, and competition picks up. We don’t know when the market will shift back to favor homebuyers, but in our current state we still believe we have awhile before we get to that point. So where does that leave us and how can homebuyers navigate the rest of 2018?
First of all, realize that buying a home is still an affordable option that makes financial sense despite rising prices and interest rates. You can read more on the effect of these rising numbers in a blog post we wrote a few years ago (www.TheMinterTeam.com/the-right-time-to-sell). While the numbers in that article have shifted, the main idea remains the same: As interest rates & prices rise the amount of home you can afford declines. We know that over time rates and prices will more than likely continue to rise. The question remains how quickly this will happen. What we can feel very confident advising clients on today is that there’s strong evidence supporting the idea that buying in 2018 will be a better financial option than waiting to purchase in 2019.
If you are already in the game and hunting for a home you need to be prepared to write an offer just outside of your comfort zone. Many homes, especially those under $300,000, are seeing multiple offers and eventually selling over asking price. Often these homes also include buyer concessions on appraisals or inspections. Keep the big picture in mind and realize that “winning” in this market means buying a great home, not beating the seller in negotiations.
Market Advice for Sellers: We have talked to a number of people who would love to make a move but are afraid to put their home on the market as they are struggling to find a home to move in to. This is certainly a valid concern, but one that needs to be addressed in some manner prior to making a purchase. We’ve filmed a short video explaining some options for problem solving this scenario that you can watch on our YouTube channel (youtu.be/jfESSbdleGY). Our advice would be to get your home on the market and then figure out the next steps. We know this is uncomfortable, but it’s the best way for you to stay in control of your move as writing offers with home sale contingencies is very difficult in today’s market.
When you are ready to take advantage of today’s sellers market and list your home you’ll want to remember that just because it’s a great time to sell a home doesn’t mean you should just slap a sign in the yard and call it a day. Sellers who are really winning in today’s market are doing everything they can up front to ensure their home is fully market ready, marketed correctly, and priced appropriately. Yes, you can probably secure an offer just by putting your home up for sale, but if your goal is to maximize your profit then making a stronger investment into your preparation and planning is the best route to take advantage of the opportunities today’s market offers. Watch “5 Steps to Prepare Your Home for Sale” for more on getting your home ready for the market (youtu.be/xRJECwSNZ78).
Make sure your home is marketed on the MLS and your agent has a clear plan to put the home in front of as many people as possible BEFORE you hit the market. Video, professional photography, and “coming soon” teasers are great ways to draw excitement about your home and bring buyers in that are fully prepared to write an offer.
Beyond preparing the home for market you’ll want to price it appropriately and not get too greedy out of the gates. Today’s homebuyers are smart. When sellers price too high in an effort to see what they can get, or to leave room to negotiate, many buyers will pass on the home all together. This leaves the home on the market for longer than it should be, and that almost always leads to a lower final sales price. Smart sellers are pricing their homes where they belong, and allowing the market to raise the price through buyer competition.
Gently nestled amongst mature trees on a semi-wooded lot backing to Foxboro Golf Course this well maintained and pre-inspected classic 2 story home is close enough to walk or bike to multiple schools and restaurants while still offering a private backyard that feels miles from town.
Learn more at: TheMinterTeam.com/740PleasantOak
Sunday, April 22nd is Earth Day – A day to celebrate the natural beauty of our planet and remind us of what we can do to help keep it healthy. If you’re looking for events to honor our planet and get outside after our long winter, we have put together a list of some of our area’s Earth Day events.
Sunday, April 22nd
9 AM – 5 PM – Earth Day Kid’s at Jada’s Garden & Greenhouse in Blue Mounds – For just $5 per child you can stop in at any time to plant veggies in peat pots and paint a garden rock.
12:30 – 3:30 PM – Earth Day & Party for the Planet at Henry Vilas Zoo – Partnered with MG&E for tons of family-friendly activities.
Saturday, April 21st
10 AM – 11:30 AM – Land Steward Work Day at the Aldo Leopold Nature Center to help restore and maintain ALNC’s prairie, marsh, and woodlands
10 AM – 5 PM – Sustainable Stoughton’s 2nd Annual Earth Day Expo – A free, family friendly event that offers food, workshops, crafts, and more!
11 AM – 12 PM – Seedballs at the Madison Children’s Museum -Kids will be able to make their own seedballs from clay, soil, and seeds to gain an understanding of the cycles and processes of plants.
12 PM – 4 PM – Habitat ReStore’s Spring Celebration – At their East location they will host a kid’s build & garden project plus a gardening workshop at 1 PM about worms.
2 PM – 5 PM – Quarry Hill Park’s Earth Day Event in Fitchburg – Help plant trees and enjoy delicious treats from area food carts.
This list just scratches the surface of our community’s events and we’d love to hear from you if we think we should add something to our list. Feel free to email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We hope you have a wonderful Earth Day and get out to enjoy the beautiful weather we will have this weekend!
It’s April, which means that you can now start many of your produce seeds indoors to get a jump start on your veggie garden. Growing produce from seeds isn’t just a great way to save money compared to buying ready-to-plant seedlings from a garden store, but it is also super rewarding!
Before you get your hands dirty, take time to review the planting schedule to see when you can start your seeds indoors and when they should be transplanted outside. Once you have an ideal timeline planned out, it’s time for the fun part! Below are 7 tips & tricks to help make your indoor seedlings a success.
- Use seed starting mix. Purchase a quality seed starting mix that will help your seeds grow into healthy and strong seedlings. Pre-moisten before putting in seeds. Fill your containers about 3/4 full with seed starting mix. You can also mix in a little cinnamon as it prevents fungus and helps prevent dampening off.
- Give them plenty of light. Place your seeds under grow lights or near a window to ensure they get plenty of sunshine. 12-16 hours of light is needed by seeds for the best growth.
- Keep soil well-watered. Keep soil moist but not drenched. Overwatering can lead to mold growth. To ensure that you aren’t drowning your new seeds, try using a misting spray bottle instead of watering can. Let your soil dry out just a bit between waterings.
- Repot in larger containers. When the seedlings get their second pair of leaves, they will need to be repotted into large contrainers. Prepare the larger pots with a potting mix that includes plenty of compost. Move the seedlings carefully to the new containers and water well. Keep pots out of direct sun for a few days.
- Gradually introduce to outdoors. Hardening off will slowly adjust your seedlings to the outdoors and give them the best chance to flourish. About two weeks prior to replanting outside take your plants outdoors under cover- the shade of a tree is good spot. Leave them out for a couple hours and then bring them back inside. This will help them get used to the sun, wind, rain, and other conditions gradually.
- Plant extra seeds. Plant more than you think you will need to make up for the seeds that don’t sprout or mature. You can also start seeds every 6 weeks so you have a continual supply of seedlings ready to plant, this will keep your garden producing for much longer.
- Follow packet instructions- Certain seed types need specific care and instructions. Some seeds may need to be soaked,scratched, or chilled before planting. Some may need their container covered with a top or plastic wrap to create a greenhouse effect. Read your seed packet before planting for best results
If you’re putting your spring cleaning on hold because just thinking about all of the potentially harmful chemicals in your current cleaning products is making you woozy, then these All Natural Cleaning Recipes are for you!
Not only do these cleaners smell GREAT but they are also effective, inexpensive to make, AND they are safe for your family & pets!
All Purpose Cleaner
- 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
- 1 1/2 cups distilled water
- 15 drops of Lemon essential oil
- 5 drops of Sweet orange essential oil
- 5 drops of Rosemary essential oil
Funnel all these ingredients into a spray bottle, seal, and shake. There will be a battle of odors here, with the acidic vinegar likely winning out against the sweet-smelling oils, but don’t let this deter you.
The vinegar scent disappears quickly, but that citrusy, herby zing lingers on. And these oils aren’t just there for their scent alone. Lemon oil is a natural disinfectant, orange oil busts grease, and rosemary oil has some antibacterial and antiseptic qualities.
Lemon Scented Window Cleaner
- 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
- 2 cups of distilled water
- 10 drops of lemon essential oil
Mix all ingredients in a spray bottle. Spray on any glass surface and polish with a microfiber cloth for a sparkling finish
Eucalyptus Toilet Bowl Cleaner
- 1/3 cup Castile soap
- 2 cups filtered water
- 1 1/3 cups baking soda
- 25 drops of Eucalyptus essential oil
Fill a squeeze bottle with all ingredients, seal & shake. Squeeze around the inside of the toilet bowl and let sit for 15 minutes. Scrub with a toilet brush, flush, and you’re done. **Aside from having a deliciously fresh aroma, eucalyptus is a natural germicide.
Vinyl & Tile Floor Cleaner
- 1 gallon of hot water
- 2 tablespoons of distilled white vinegar
- 2 teaspoons of castile soap
- 2 tablespoons of washing soda
- 10-20 drops of any citrus essential oil of your choice
Mix together in a bucket and wash with a mop or microfiber cloth.
Soap Scum Remover
- ¼ to ½ cup Borax
- 2 cups of hot water
Mix Borax and hot water in a spray bottle. Shake well. Spray area thoroughly and let sit for 15 minutes then use a Magic Eraser sponge to clean. Rinse and wipe dry.
Room Deodorizing Spray
- 1 oz witch hazel
- 3 oz distilled water
- 18 drops Bergamot essential oil
- 6 drops Eucalyptus essential oil
- 12 drops Lemon essential oil
Combine all ingredients in an 4 oz spray bottle and shake before each use.
As we’ve started to settle into the spring housing market “madness” is quite possibly the best term to describe the current state of what we are seeing.
The combination of low inventory (the number of homes available for sale) and a strong economy have us firmly planted in a seller’s market in which the best homes are seeing fierce competition from interested homebuyers. read more…
Welcome Home! Nestled in the desirable Alpine Meadows neighborhood, this spacious home has a lot to offer!
The large kitchen boasts endless cabinet & counter space, a breakfast bar, tile backsplash & is open to the south-facing dinette.
Enjoy the living room’s gas fireplace during the colder months & the maintenance free deck in the warmer months. For extra living space, the exposed lower level is finished, complete with a family room that is wired for surround sound, a 4th bedroom, & a 3rd full bath.
The master suite features a large walk-in closet and private full bath with a walk-in shower.
Additional features include convenient upper laundry, 2 car garage & plenty of storage space! Updates include a new AC & dryer in 2016, maintenance free deck in 2010. lower level finished in 2008, and window coverings in 2007.
For more information visit theminterteam.com/810longwood