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Mary Alice Ruppert
REALTOR®, ABR, AHWD, CRB, ePro, GRI, SFR
Licensed Associate Broker
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Articles Tagged "Home improvement"

Live, Love, Long Island Blog Home

Buy a home | 24 Posts
Homeownership | 25 Posts
Long Island, NY | 55 Posts
Nassau County | 1 Posts
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Sell a home | 18 Posts
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April
25

5 Tips for Finally Organizing Your Garage

Garage Organization - Homeowners - Coach Realtors

Spring is here, and that means it's time to break out the dust mops, clear away the cobwebs, and most importantly, get your garage organized. Of all the spring cleaning chores you will tackle, our REALTORS® know that cleaning the garage is one of the most challenging because it's typically the least organized space. Fortunately, with a little planning and a touch of elbow grease, you can use the following tips to finally get it organized!

  1. Make a Plan, Stan
    Start by determining where you want to put everything. Bicycles, gardening gear, sports equipment, tools, etc. should be well organized by category and zone. You will want to determine how much of each category you need space for, and determine the best way to maximize the use of your garage space by dedicating sufficient space for each required zone.

  2. Tackle it in Stages
    You don't have to do it all at once. Dividing it into stages can make the task less daunting. When we show Nassau County homes for sale we can always tell which homeowners took the time to clean out the garage in stages and do the job right. For example:
    ​​​​​​​
    • Clean out the clutter
    • Organize items into their appropriate categories.
    • Clean the freed spaces of dust, debris, cobwebs, etc.
    • Install storage systems (i.e. pegboard, shelving, cabinets, etc.)
    • Put things in their proper place

  3. Detach Yourself and Declutter
    Do you really need to keep it? Is it something you've used once and never again? Is it something you've never used and may never need? One of the biggest problems with garage cleanouts is that garages become a storage closet for all the things we think we'll need, and all the things our heartstrings won't let us let go of. The reality is that most of the things in your garage can go and you will never miss them. If it's old, damaged, broken, outdated, or a specialty item you are not likely to use again, then get rid of it. Sell it on eBay, put it on Craigslist, or simply donate it to Goodwill. 

  4. Invest in Quality Storage Solutions
    We show many Suffolk County homes for sale, and we can't stress enough just how important it is to invest in high-quality storage solutions. Not only do these look better during a showing, but they add real value to the home. Homebuyers love to see well-organized cabinets, shelves, pegboards, etc. It helps keep the space cleaner and more open, but more importantly, it shows that the homeowner cared about details and thus the rest of the home is also likely to be well taken care of. Organizing systems made of steel, wood, and other durable materials are well worth the investment in this regard.

  5. Don't Be Afraid to Look Up
    Overhead storage systems are fantastic inclusions during any garage organization project. They are ideal for holiday decor, seasonal sports equipment, and other items you rarely use. Installing ceiling systems can free up the rest of the garage and give you enough space for a workbench, additional car, etc. 

We're happy to give you more ideas on ways you can organize your garage this spring. Contact us and we will be happy to tell you about some of the features and systems we see installed in homes throughout the area. 

December
27

Winter Is the Perfect Time for These Home Improvement Projects

Winter Home Improvement Projects - Coach Realtors

You may think that once the snow begins to fall, it's too late to start on home improvements, but our REALTORS® would advise you otherwise. You may not be able to do much outdoors, but inside is another story. In fact, if the work you need requires a contractor, you may be able to find one offering lower rates as available jobs dwindle. Whether you have just purchased your home or are getting the house ready for sale in the spring, several projects will make you more comfortable now and increase your profits later. 

  • Insulating the Attic
    You may not even need to hire a contractor to make your home more comfortable, decrease energy costs and get a great return on your investment. The ROI comes in at a whopping 116.9 percent. Add to that a tax credit of up to $500. If you thought this project was too pricy, you might be surprised that it could cost under $400 to purchase and install. With numbers like that, you are looking at a project that literally pays for itself.

  • Update the Thermostat
    This is a project that works for any budget. Prices for programmable thermostats range anywhere from $30 to $300 but will save you from $10 to $20 a month. There are plenty of options available, some even offering remote control. You can reduce energy consumption when no one is home and adjust the temperature to your comfort level so that you walk into pre-programmed comfort. A seasoned do-it-yourselfer may be able to install one, but most homeowners will need the services of an electrician. The good news is that the cost will be minimal as the process takes minutes to complete. 

  • Stop Air Leaks
    You can reduce the cost of heating and cooling your home by simply sealing air leaks with caulking or weatherstripping. For just a few dollars, you can eliminate most drafts. You'll want to caulk spaces around doors and window frames, paying attention to pipes and vents as well. Add or update the weather stripping to seal moveable components such as sliding glass doors and windows. This project takes a little time but doesn't require particular skills or experience. For less than $30, you can dramatically affect the comfort and energy efficiency of your home.

  • Repaint the Interior
    If you are selling soon, this is a great time to inspect the walls and fill in any dings or holes. Choose white or another neutral color that will work with any color scheme, so potential buyers can readily picture their own belongings in the house. You may find this easier if you declutter the rooms first, putting collections and other personal items you are not using in storage. This will give you a good jump start on your own move, too. The size of the house and the quality of paint will dictate the cost, but on average, you can paint for under $500 and make the home look larger and cleaner to potential buyers.

  • Give Doors a Facelift
    What's the first thing a buyer will see when entering the house? Inside and out, doors take a beating. Fingerprints and scuff marks make them look old and tired. A fresh coat of paint, new hardware, or even just cleaning up aging brass can make the entire home look more inviting. This cost-effective project will cost between $30 and $200.

If you're thinking of adding your house to the Nassau County homes for sale or Suffolk County homes for sale, contact us for more ways to boost your profits.

November
15

Creative Ways to Add Storage in the Living Room

Living Room Storage - Coach Realtors

Whether you live in a large country estate or a chic city condo, adequate storage is a necessity. Most homeowners feel they never have enough storage regardless of their home's size. With help from our REALTORS®, you can discover some creative storage solutions for your home.

Your living room serves as an entryway into your home and a gathering area for entertaining. While many Nassau County homes for sale feature large, inviting living rooms, they may lack sufficient storage space for your needs. Take a look at easy ways to add storage to your living room.

  • Invest in an Entertainment Center
    Entertainment centers are useful in living rooms because they can serve multiple purposes. As well as housing your TV, streaming boxes, and remotes, they provide valuable storage space. Entertainment centers are a great place to display books and magazines, decorative items, artwork, framed family photos, and special keepsakes that add interest to your living room.

  • Install Built-In Bookshelves
    If you're an avid reader with an extensive collection of books, built-in bookshelves are a perfect storage solution. Leather-bound books and colorful book jackets add interesting colors and textures to any room. However, built-in bookshelves are not just for books. They're also ideal for displaying beautiful pottery and china, hand-blown glassware, antique accessories, paintings and drawings, and family mementos that brighten your day.

  • Use Seating with Built-In Storage
    Buying a sofa with built-in storage drawers or benches and ottomans with hidden storage compartments can double your living room's storage capacity. Benches and ottomans with hidden compartments are great for extra seating when you have parties and large gatherings. They also provide quick and easy storage for throw pillows, blankets, and accessories that need to be put away when you want to declutter your living room.

  • Turn Window Seats into Storage Areas
    Many older Suffolk County homes for sale have unique features like sitting nooks and window seats built below large windows. If you're lucky enough to have a built-in window bench, the space underneath the seating can be used for storage. You can add drawers or turn the seating top into a flip-top bench to access the space beneath. If the walls at each end of the seat are deep enough, they can be outfitted with built-in shelves to hold books, photos, accessories, and reading lamps.

  • Re-Purpose Old Storage Items
    If you're looking for a way to increase storage and add a nostalgic flair to your living room, look for old items you can re-purpose to fit your design style. Instead of a new modern entertainment center, find an antique hutch with a large storage compartment behind doors and built-in shelving. Instead of a mundane coffee table that lacks style, look for a vintage wooden or leather truck that can serve as your coffee table with added storage below. 

  • Stock Up on Baskets and Storage Bins
    You can find a wide variety of affordable baskets and storage bins in different sizes and finishes to help with your storage needs. Wicker baskets, colorful woven or fabric baskets, and galvanized bins are great for storing small items and hiding clutter. They're ideal for smaller living rooms since they easily fit on bookshelves and on or under coffee tables and end tables. Whether storing extra throw pillows or toys for kids and pets, baskets and bins make great inexpensive storage solutions.

If you're interested in buying or selling a home in the New York area, contact us for information on available homes and prices that fit your lifestyle. 

October
25

Bathroom Remodel: How to Choose the Right Bathtub

Choosing a Bathtub - Remodeling Tips - Coach Realtors

Soaking in a warm, relaxing bath is something everyone looks forward to after a long day. When showing properties, our REALTORS® are always asked about bathroom upgrades with spa-like features seen in many of these Nassau County homes for sale and Suffolk County homes for sale.

If you're considering a bathroom remodel, you have many bathtub styles to choose from for your space. Before you make your final selection, consider the size of your bathroom, your personal needs, and the finished look you want to achieve.

  • Drop-In Tubs
    Drop-in tubs are the most common type found in homes. The tub shell is fitted inside a framed enclosure that may be surrounded by sheetrock walls or tiles. With drop-in rectangular tubs, three sides are sealed in and one long side is open so you can step into the tub.

    Undermount drop-in tubs are installed where the top of the tub sits at floor level creating a very modern bathroom. Most drop-in tubs are made of porcelain, acrylic, or fiberglass, the least expensive options.

  • Corner Tubs
    Corner tubs are similar to drop-ins, but they're much larger and wider. Their large, square proportions make them great for dual bathing. To accommodate the size and shape, you need a large corner area in your bathroom for installation. If you have an area near a large window, this may be the perfect place for a relaxing bath while enjoying a beautiful view of the garden.

  • Freestanding Tubs
    Freestanding tubs feature solid bases or cradles and sculpted bathing bowls. They come in many shapes including rectangular, square, oval, and round. One advantage of freestanding tubs is they can sit anywhere in the bathroom and don't have to be connected to walls for stability. However, you need a larger bathroom because the tub will take up open floor space. Freestanding tubs are most popular in porcelain and acrylic, but they also come in copper, stainless steel, and colors for a higher price.

  • Clawfoot Tubs
    Although clawfoot tubs made out of cast iron date back to the Victorian era, they are still very popular with homeowners today. Their freestanding style, oval shape, and brass or chrome claw feet create a reminiscent eclectic style that works in both traditional and contemporary homes. Most clawfoot tubs are especially deep, so they're perfect for those long bubble bath soaks.
  • Special Features
    Most bathtub manufacturers offer a variety of options for special features, especially for their top-of-the-line products. If you want ultimate relaxation and health benefits, you don't have to look far for a lot of great options:

    • Whirlpool Jets – By choosing a tub with whirlpool jets, you can relax in water with various heat settings, foot massage jets, multi-speed bubbles, and silent motor technology.

    • Chromatherapy – Whether you prefer peaceful pink or soothing blue, chromatherapy includes underwater LED lights that change color to suit your mood.

    • Music – With resonant speaker panels that attach to the tub and send sound through the water, you can relax to your favorite playlist while soaking.

    • Digital Controls – A built-in digital touchpad lets you easily control water temperature, jet direction, water color, and your favorite tunes.

If you're planning to buy or sell a home, contact us for information and real estate advice from our professionals.

September
27

Homeowners: Try These Pest-Proofing Measures

Pest-Proofing Measures for Homeowners - Coach Realtors

Your home is your castle. When it's invaded by an uninvited pest that won't leave, our REALTORS® understand how frustrating that can be and how much of a disruption it can cause. Many pests are difficult to dislodge, and since changing the locks isn't an option, we strongly recommend taking preventative measures that will work.

Whether you buy Nassau County homes for sale or Suffolk County homes for saleone of the first things you want to consider is pest control. The more effort you put into keeping pests out, the less effort you'll need to spend kicking them out down the road.

  • Start by sealing any holes or cracks in the siding or masonry. Pay close attention to door jams and window frames where small cracks can form as the foundation settles. If you discover any cracks, apply the appropriate caulk, weatherstripping, or sealant to the surface. This will have the added advantage of improving the energy envelope around your home.

  • It's also advisable to clean up your attic, garage, and crawlspace. These three areas are breeding grounds for ants, mosquitos, flies, mice, and other pests. The cleaner these three spaces, the less attractive they are for uninvited houseguests with wings or fur.

  • Make sure to clean up the kitchen and pantry. It's best to secure food in airtight containers to help minimize the odors that can attract pests. You'll also want to make sure to keep these areas free of crumbs and other food debris that pests can munch on as they scout new places to move into.

  • Skip the pet door and making sure Fido is regularly groomed. Pet doors create easy access for mice, roaches, raccoons, and other pests; removing the door denies them a potential point of entry. And, while you're removing the pet door, be sure to securely install the bug screen on the windows and patio doors. This will help keep bugs of all shapes and sizes from moving in. 

  • Stay on top of your landscaping. Keep trees properly trimmed, mow the grass, and ensure that piles of leaves and other yard waste don't grow into small mountains. Left unattended, these piles will rot and attract all manner of pests that can easily multiply and move in when you're not looking.

  • Speed up the process. Once you remove the breeding grounds and food sources, it can take a while for pests to disappear. Place traps and poison for them to nibble on, but be sure to put these traps and substances in locations where pets and children can't access them.

  • Hire an exterminator. If you've tried all these pest-proofing measures, and the rats, mice, flies, and other pests still haven't taken the hint, hire the professionals to deliver a permanent eviction notice. Exterminators are highly effective at eliminating pests. But remember: If you don't solve the infestation's root cause(s), you can expect the pests to return in the future.

Are you looking for a new home? We can help. Contact usand we'll do our best to give you the information you need.

September
13

Enjoy the Convenience of This Smart Home Tech

Smart Home Tech - Coach Realtors

These days, many of us are busy and pressed for time. When we do finally get the chance to be home and relax with family, we don't want to be burdened by chores and extra housework. Thankfully, the latest smart home technology is helping to address this issue. Our REALTORS® recommend considering the following devices to help simplify your at-home routine.

  • Smart Speakers
    Adding a smart speaker to your living room or great room can make it so much easier to listen to the music and podcasts you love. When you're getting ready to do the dishes or tackle that email inbox, you can simply talk to the speaker and tell it what to play. Or, you can scroll through options via the speaker-coordinated app on your smartphone. You won't have to worry about losing the remote or getting up to adjust the volume.

  • Smart Light Bulbs
    Isn't it annoying to be all settled in on your couch, and then realize you need to get up and adjust the lights? Smart light bulbs can fix this dilemma. You can use voice commands to turn the lights on and off or to dim the lights. Some smart light bulbs even light up different colors on command! Switching to smart light bulbs can save money on energy, too, since you're more likely to actually turn the lights off when you don't need them. 

  • Smart Vacuums
    Robot vacuums have been around for a while, but more recently, smart vacuums have become an even more convenient way to keep your home clean. The vacuum will keep humming along and cleaning your carpet, regardless of whether or not you're home. It will send you a message on your smartphone if it gets stuck, if it finishes cleaning, or if it needs any other input from you. There are even smart vacuums made specifically for people with pets and those with hard floors.

  • Pet Cameras
    When you're gone for long periods during the day, you might worry about your pet. Having to run home every few hours and check on them can become a burden. But a pet camera can allow you to check in on them from the convenience of your smartphone. Some smart pet cameras even let you talk to your pet remotely. This can help you calm your pet down during a storm or make them feel less lonely while you're away.

  • Smart Coffee Maker
    Do you ever wish you could wake up to coffee, already made in your own kitchen? Maybe you could even sleep a little longer if you didn't have to spend 10 minutes making coffee every morning. A smart coffee maker can solve all of these problems. You can program it to make coffee for you at a certain time of day. If you're at work and know you'll want another cup as soon as you get home, you can use your smartphone app to tell the coffee maker to get working. Imagine how much you'll save on visits to the coffee shop!

  • Smart TV
    The latest smart TVs let you change channels, turn up the volume, pause the show, and more — all with your voice. Of course, you can use an app on your phone for control, too, if that's what you prefer.  Your TV experience will be that much more relaxing.

What do you think of these smart home innovations for your Long Island home? If you're looking for Nassau County homes for sale or Suffolk county homes for sale, our agents can help. Contact us to learn more about our services.

July
26

Tips Before Buying an Older Home

Buying an Older Home - Long Island - Coach Realtors

For some people, there's something alluring and almost whimsical about living in an old house. It's the history, the craftsmanship, and the nostalgic factor that you can't find in a newer build. If you're looking for a home whose walls are filled with history, our REALTORS® can help you find the home of your dreams.

It's no secret that old houses carry a lot of charm and character. They just don't build them like they used to anymore. But for all their charms, buying an older house is a complicated affair. You must be prepared to spend more money long-term than your initial listing price. Even then, you might run into some issues.

Here are a few things you need to look out for when buying an old house.

What Counts As an Older Home?

Age is subjective when it comes to houses. As a general rule of thumb, an old house is one that's fifty years or older, and one built before 1920 is considered antique. But again, housing age is subjective – it's a condition based on numerous factors, including location, architectural style, and even local climate and geology.

For instance, houses in urban cores across the country, such as New York and Massachusetts, tend to be older, averaging over 50 years old.

To help you do your due diligence, here are the factors you need to consider when buying an older home.

  • Construction Style
    In most cases, the construction style of a home is an indicator of its quality. Prefabricated homes are generally constructed to lower quality standards than custom-built new homes. Homes constructed in the Tudor, Craftsman, Victorian, or Queen Anne styles are usually solidly built, more durable, and can handle several rounds of repairs and renovations.

  • Climate and Geology
    Certain climates can age a home. Houses in desert areas and places that experience extreme weather conditions tend to age faster. A house in Chicago will need repairs sooner than one in milder climates. Geological factors such as earthquakes, sinkholes, and high water tables can also accelerate the aging process. Homes in geologically active areas will require more repair and maintenance over their lifetime as such activities can lead to structural damage.

Things to Pay Attention to When Buying an Old House

If the age of a home is subjective, what are the factors you should pay attention to more? Here's a breakdown.

  • Foundation Issues
    When buying an old home, two inspections are better than one. A structural inspection can reveal the extent of foundation issues if any. These issues could range from small settlement cracks to damaged support footings. Look out for wall cracks, windows that won't open, and doors that won't latch. Such minor issues could indicate a larger, more inherent problem.

  • Lead and Asbestos
    Lead and asbestos are neurotoxic materials that were used in piping systems and insulations until relatively very recently. Lead is common in many pre-World War II plumbing systems and in paints made before 1978. Asbestos wasn't banned in residential applications until the late 1980s. In addition, you have to look out for toxic gases, such as Radon, that could severely impact air quality. These issues also necessitate a rigorous inspection process.

  • Previous Renovations
    Old homes have likely changed hands many times over. An inspection could highlight recent renovations and ensure that the house is up to code and industry standards. Some old and antique houses have been updated so many times that it's difficult to determine their age. Sometimes the only remaining original components are the foundation and exterior of the house.

Looking for Some Old School Charm?

Buying an old house has its challenges. With smart planning and the right realtor by your side, you can find a property that's well worth the hassle. Check out our Nassau County homes for sale and Suffolk County homes for sale to find vintage homes with some of that old-school charm. Contact us, and we can help you navigate the hurdles that come with buying an older home.

May
3

How to Find the Perfect Paint Color the First Time

Getting Paint Right the First Time - Coach Realtors

Giving your home's interior a fresh coat of paint is a quick, affordable way to update design style, even when you have a limited budget. Our REALTORS® know that new paint can quickly transform a drab, outdated room into a room with spectacular ambiance and style that appeals to homebuyers.

Choosing the right paint color is essential for a well-designed space, but it can be a difficult task. With thousands of colors that range from pale neutrals to bright bold hues, finding the perfect paint color is often a frustrating and costly experience that leads to repainting. To get it right the first time, interior design pros recommend these important design tips.

  • Don't Start With the Paint
    Choosing your paint color first may seem like an easy way to get things started, but it's not a good idea unless your room is completely empty. Most people have existing furnishings and accessories they plan to keep, so paint must coordinate with existing items. Unless you're starting with an empty house, it's much easier to choose a paint color that complements your existing décor, rather than choosing new décor that works with your paint color.

  • Work With Testers
    Working with testers helps you choose the right color the first time, so you don't waste time and money on repainting. Most paint brands now have small test cans of paint available for only a few bucks. You can paint tester strips directly on the wall or on separate pieces of poster board that can be moved around the room. Whichever method you choose, leave the test areas up for a week to see how colors change at different times of day and in different light.

  • Consider Undertones
    All paints have undertones that reflect different tints and shades, depending on how they are mixed. White paint comes in at least 100 different shades with undertones of yellow, orange, red, green, blue, and violet. A white paint with red undertones may appear pink on the wall, while green undertones may give white paint a hint of mint or lime. Dark colors may also have undertones that impact light and density.

  • Consider the Light
    When choosing a paint color, it's essential to consider the amount of natural light the room gets during the day. If your room has several windows for sunlight, dark bold colors will be easier to live with, because the natural light will make them feel a little softer. If your room has no windows or minimal sunlight, you must rely on interior lighting, which can change paint colors due to incandescent, fluorescent, or halogen light bulbs.

  • Choose the Right Finish
    Paint finish is important because any sheen in the paint will accent flaws in the wall. When choosing a paint color, make sure you get the right finish for areas you are painting:
    • Flat Paint – Matte finishes are good for walls and ceilings because they have no sheen at all. They are recommended for stucco and textured walls and ceilings with uneven surfaces where paint colors can look distorted due to a build-up of paint.

    • Enamel Paint – These come in flat, eggshell, satin, semi-gloss, and high-gloss finishes. Eggshell and satin finishes have a little sheen, while semi-gloss and high-gloss finishes have a lot. While sheen helps with cleaning, it also reflects light and highlights flaws.

If you're looking for Nassau County homes for sale or Suffolk County homes for sale, we can help you find your dream home. Contact us for opportunities in those areas.

April
12

Don't Hire a Contractor Until You Ask These Questions

Ask These Contractor Questions - Remodeling - Coach Realtors

You've probably heard this before, but a contractor can make or break your remodeling or home addition project. Finding the right contractor will determine the timeliness and quality of work, and the amount of financial and emotional stress you'll have to deal with. Before paying thousands of dollars for the job, you'll want to carefully screen potential contractors and make sure they know what they're doing. Our REALTORS® have collated a list of questions to ask before you hire a contractor.

  • How Long Have You Been Working in This Town?
    When hiring a contractor, you want to know how much experience they have and how long they've been working in your local area. A contractor who has been around the block for a few years is more likely to have a proven track record. They're a safer bet than a contractor planning to commute to your home from 50 miles away.


  • Are You a Licensed Contractor?
    Licensing is an important element in the construction industry. A licensed contractor will have extensive knowledge about local building laws, follow proper safety guidelines, and complete your work on time. If you hire an unlicensed contractor, they may disappear after doing half the work, and you'll be on your own when it comes to resolving the issue. And it's not just important to have a license; you want to make sure it's applicable to the types of project you're looking to have completed.


  • Are You Insured?
    In response to this question, you want to hear that the contractor has general liability insurance and workers' compensation insurance. The last thing you need is to pay for repairs when a worker hits a water line and floods your house or pay for the medical expenses of a worker who got injured while working on your property. Ask to see a copy of the contractor's insurance policy to ascertain that they have insurance, and it's enough to cover your home if things go sour.


  • How Long Will the Remodeling Take?
    An experienced contractor should give you a projected timeline for the completion of the project. But it's also worth noting that construction isn't always cut and dry. Behind existing walls or floors might be hidden damage or problems that call for additional work. Ask your contractor about the possibility of delays and how necessary changes to the timeline will be addressed.


  • Would You Itemize Your Bid?
    There are so many things to keep track of during a remodel. Some contractors will give you a bottom-line quote for your project, but this will leave you in the dark about payment breakdown for each aspect of the job. You'll stay saner and more secure if you're given an itemized bid that shows the cost for all elements of the job. Also, make sure you discuss the payment terms before the work begins. Do not pay a large sum of money upfront.


  • Got References?
    Speaking to past clients and gathering their input is one of the best ways to find out about a contractor's work. Call and ask questions about the contractor's quality of work, adherence to budget and timeline, ease of communication, willingness to fix projects after the project is completed, and how they keep the work area clean.


  • Who Will be Doing the Work?
    Ideally, the contractor should handle the entire project with just their own crew. You'll want to know if the same team will be working on your home each day and whether the contractor works with subcontractors. Find out if they've had their background checked and covered by the contractor's workers' comp and liability insurance. Don't forget to ask about site-management and the point of contact between you and the company.

This is not an all-encompassing list, but it will help you get the conversation started. Remodeling your home or building an addition can make your home a more enjoyable place to live. And if you decide to add your home to the pool of Nassau County homes for sale or Suffolk homes for sale, the right improvements can really separate your home in the market. Contact us today to learn more.

March
1

Kitchen Makeover: These Trends Are Making Waves

Kitchen Makeover - Home Improvement - Coach Realtors

The kitchen is the heart of the home, and sometimes it's good to give in to your heart's desires. Remodeling your kitchen is a tried and tested way to breathe fresh life into your home. It's a project that our REALTORS® guarantee will go a long way toward enhancing your comfort and adding to your home's resale value. As you consider all the options, be certain to note the following kitchen trends for 2021.

  • Marble Beats Granite
    Granite was the go-to stone of the '90s and the start of the new millennium. However, as tastes have evolved, marble has emerged as the trendiest stone for kitchens and bathrooms. Heavily veined marble is the epitome of luxury and will give a durable finish to your counters, backsplashes, and more.

  • Wood is Back in Style
    Wood is undergoing a revival, and while cherry and oak have held the title of most popular in the past, modern homes are opting for the inclusion of subtle-grained ash and other lighter woods. When choosing wood, choose one with a well-defined grain and light finish that will add an airy, sophisticated ambiance to your remodeled kitchen.

  • Enjoy the Lush Luxury of Dark Walls
    Dark-colored walls create a sharp contrast against light-grained woods and white marble countertops. Black or brown paint, or dark-colored tiles, can create a luxurious backdrop for family gatherings and everyday living.

  • Islands Emerge From the Floor
    If you have a larger kitchen, islands are fabulous to create a focal point for gatherings in the kitchen. If you have a large kitchen, double islands are a feature worth exploring. However, be careful not to try and put an island or a double island in a small kitchen as this can make the room feel closed in and cluttered.

  • The Jetson's Meet the Jones'
    The inclusion of technology in the kitchen is sure to be a hit with the whole family. Installing smart screens, smart appliances, and other smart home technology will make it easier to listen to your favorite music while you cook, pull up recipes, and even manage your pantry and shopping lists.

  • Storage Takes Center Stage
    Storage space is always at a premium in the kitchen. That will never change. What has changed is that many older kitchens have plenty of wasted space that is now being converted into usable storage for appliances, spices, foodstuffs, linens, etc. In fact, you will see many Nassau County homes for sale where interior designers have found some creative ways to add shelves and cabinets to the kitchen to open the space up while providing ample storage in the process.

  • Pantry Space is at a Premium
    One thing the pandemic has done is change the way we shop. Many families have prioritized having a ready supply of food on hand "just in case." Of course, more food requires more space, which is why you will see plenty of Suffolk County homes for sale where the owners have converted closets and other spaces into walk-in pantries. Not only does this create ample space for storage, but it also makes it easier to organize your foodstuffs.

We invite you to contact us to learn more about the kitchen trends we recommend our clients incorporate in their properties. It is our pleasure to answer your questions and help you find the best kitchen design team to create the kitchen of your dreams. 

January
25

Sellers: Winter Is a Great Time To Declutter

Wintertime Decluttering Tips for Sellers - Coach Realtors

With the chilly winter temperatures and short days, winter is a fantastic time to organize your home. If you're ready to put your home on the market, our REALTORS® recommend decluttering your spaces so that your home is more appealing to potential buyers. Here are a few tasks to add to your to-do list so that your home looks its best. 

  1. Go Through Your Seasonal Stuff
    Start by going through your seasonal items, like holiday decor, yard tools, and weather-specific clothing. If you haven't used an item in the past year, consider if it's contributing to the life you want to live. Once you've pared down your seasonal belongings, store them in plastic storage boxes so that they'll be protected from the elements when not in use. Make sure to label what's in each box so you don't have to open several boxes to locate an item. Seldom-used seasonal items can take up a lot of space in your home and even make it appear smaller. If possible, transport the items to another location, like a storage unit or storage shed, when it's time to sell your home.
  1. Downsize Your Bedding and Bath Linens
    If you've been hanging onto all your old mismatched sheets and worn towels, it's time to downsize your collection. It's reasonable to keep three sets of bedding for each bed; this ensures that you have sheets and a backup set of bedding when one set is in the wash. Some individuals change their pillowcases more frequently than the rest of their bedding; if so, hold onto a few extra pillowcases. For your towels, aim to have three towels per person in your household. If someone likes to use a separate towel to dry their hair, it's reasonable to add two to three towels for this individual. Have three hand towels for each bathroom, and aim for five washcloths per person in your home. 
  1. Empty Out Your Kitchen Cabinets and Pantry
    Take everything out of your kitchen cabinets and pantry so that you can see exactly what you have. Get rid of anything that you haven't used in a year, anything that's worn out, or any item that you clearly have too many of. Tupperware or cookware that's missing a lid should also be tossed. For the remaining items, consider investing in cabinet shelves to better organize your belongings. This will make it easier to find what you're looking for and allow you to maximize the space in your cabinets. 
  1. Clear Our Your Toiletries and Cosmetics
    Don't let a surplus of makeup, lotions, and soaps overrun your bathroom. Instead, go through your personal care items and keep only the items that you love and regularly use. Check the expiration dates for your makeup to ensure that it isn't expired. Store what's left in a dedicated case or bag to keep your counter space clear. 

Ready to add your home to the list of Nassau County homes for sale? Interested in a home with more space? Contact us today to get started and start exploring Suffolk County homes for sale!

January
11

How to Make Your Home Smarter in 2021

Smarter Home in 2021 - Coach Realtors

They say you shouldn't work hard; you should work smarter. We believe it's a suggestion that equally applies to daily life. When you are ready to work less and live smarter, our REALTORS® recommend giving your home a smart upgrade. Installing smart home systems is a smart way to start the new year off on the right foot. If you're wondering how to start and what to look for, the following tips and suggestions will help you take the first steps to a more convenient lifestyle.

Consider the Features and Functions

Do you want to listen to the radio, control the thermostat, or enhance your home security? Smart home systems can perform these functions, and much more. Some of the most popular smart home functions we see in Nassau County homes for sale include:

  • Smart Home Assistants
  • Smart Speakers
  • Smart Home Security Systems
  • Smart Thermostats
  • Smart Lighting
  • Smart Doorbells & Door Locks
  • Smart Vacuum Cleaners

Getting started requires first identifying the level of convenience, comfort, and security you want to enjoy. Smart home technology can help you trim your monthly utility bills and reduce your environmental footprint. They can make it easier to entertain guests and enjoy "downtime." They can improve your home security and give you total control over your home even when you're thousands of miles away.

Set a Budget & Choose a Brand

Always buy quality when purchasing a smart home system. Further, choose brands with a solid track record of growth and innovation. This will help ensure the system you choose will still be serviceable in the future. 

Remember, smart home technology is an investment. When you invest in high-quality smart thermostats and home security systems, you're investing in both comfort and safety. Moreover, smart home systems will enhance your home's curb appeal. When you decide to put it on the market, these systems can give you an advantage over a competing property.

Finally, make sure to choose devices that are compatible with one another. This helps maximize the convenience and functionality you can enjoy. It also eliminates the need to learn multiple controls.

Install What You can and Hire the Best for the Rest

Many smart home systems are ready to use right out of the box. However, more advanced systems require customized installation and set up. Thus, you should set up the devices you can (i.e., Amazon or Google speakers) and hire a professional to install and program your Nest thermostat, Nexx garage door opener, home security system, etc. When hiring a contractor to perform these services, make sure that they have specific experience with your system.

Start Small Before You Buy it All

Most homeowners we encounter when showing Suffolk County homes for sale start with one or two systems before adding more smart devices to their home. Most start with speakers and smart lighting as these are easy to install and can help familiarize the family with the best ways to integrate smart home technology into daily life. Once everyone is comfortable, gradually introduce additional systems. 

We recommend staying up-to-date with smart home technology. It's a rapidly evolving field, and the features and functions are rapidly expanding. If you can dream it, you can bet it's on the horizon.

Are you in the market for a new home where you can live smarter and more comfortably in 2021? Contact us, and we will be happy to show you some of the properties we have available. It is our pleasure to help you and your family find the perfect home for a fabulous future.

November
16

Home Inspection How-To for Sellers

Home Inspection How-To - Sellers - Coach Realtors

After preparing your home to add to the inventory of Nassau County homes for sale, you've accepted an offer. While it may feel like the hard work is over, you still have to make it through the home inspection. Unfortunately, it's common for real estate deals to fall through due to a poor home inspection. Here are a few tips home sellers should follow throughout the home inspection process. 

  1. Leave Your Property During the Home Inspection
    While it's common for homebuyers to attend a portion or even all of a home inspection, our REALTORS® recommend that the home seller leave their home during the inspection. You're only going to be nervous and anxious watching someone spend hours combing your home looking for problems.

    Your presence may also be awkward for the buyer. Pack up your family (including your pets) and vacate your home during the inspection.

  2. Declutter and Move Large Items Before the Inspection
    See that you move any clutter or large items that may be obscuring items or areas that the inspector will want to examine. For example, if your electrical panel is usually behind a large set of shelving, move the shelving unit so that the inspector has easy access. 

    The inspector can't move your belongings during the inspection. If the inspector can't inspect an area, the buyer may be leery of continuing with the deal.

  3. Decide if a Pre-Inspection is Right for Your Home
    Before they list their home with the Suffolk County homes for sale, some sellers arrange a pre-inspection. As the name suggests, a pre-inspection is a home inspection that occurs before the house is put on the market. 

    The idea behind a pre-inspection is that it gives you a chance to fix any issues that might pop up during a home inspection (or at least informs you of potential problems). Aren't sure whether your home is impacted by a specific type of issue, such as an outdated electrical system? In that case, the pre-inspection will let you know if it's an issue. 

    An argument against a pre-inspection is that it might uncover a lot of minor issues that won't be a big concern with homebuyers. You're unlikely to recoup all of the money that you spend making repairs for any issues detected by the pre-inspection.

  4. Understand What Is and Isn't an Issue
    Every home inspection reports problems with a home, even if the property has been well-maintained. You need to know what issues are high-level problems; these are the items that are likely to be potential dealbreakers if you can't come to a resolution with the buyer about how to handle them. Any problems that involve code violations or a health issue will likely require your attention before your deal can close. The issues include:
  • Water damage
  • Problems with the home's structural integrity (like foundation issues)
  • Plumbing problems
  • Unreliable HVAC systems
  • Roof damage
  • Damage to the electrical system
  • Problems with the subflooring 
  1. See That Your Utilities are All Turned On
    If you're still living in the home, this tip might not be necessary, but if you've already moved, make sure that all your utilities (like your water, electricity, and gas) are turned on. The inspector needs these items to work to test your home's major systems. 

Have more questions about selling your home? Contact us today for assistance!

November
9

5 Tips to Make a Splash in Your Kitchen

Update Kitchen Backsplash - Coach Realtors

Whether you're fully remodeling your kitchen or just giving it a bit of a facelift, choosing the right backsplash is one of the most important decisions in the design process. When showing homes, our real estate agents find that a kitchen's backsplash can have a make-it-or-break-it effect. It might not be a large space we're talking about, but it puts the finishing touches on your new look and ties everything together.

Here are five tips to help you pick the right backsplash for your kitchen.

  1. Try Before You Buy
    How materials and paint colors look in the store, under harsh fluorescent lighting, is one thing; how they'll look in your home is quite another. Never commit to anything before taking samples home with you. Prop the backsplash samples up against your existing backsplash, along with other samples you are considering, and just live with them for a few days. Notice how they look as the lighting in your kitchen changes throughout the day, and how they coordinate with other samples such as paint chips.

  2. Be Practical
    It's natural to want your kitchen to look the best your money can buy, but don't forget to be practical, too. Make choices that will help you stay within budget and also think about your purchases as an investment. What materials will wear the best over time, stay in fashion the longest, be the easiest to clean, and require the least maintenance? For example, some tile is very porous and may be difficult to clean, especially over the stove where grease from cooking is likely to find all the nooks and crannies. And marble, while very attractive, will need to be sealed with special chemicals once a year to maintain its look long term.

  3. Coordinate, Don't Match
    Your backsplash may be an extension of your countertops, but don't make the common mistake of trying to match the two perfectly to one another. Matching makes them blend together, rather than drawing the eye, the way you want to do. Instead, look for something that coordinates with your countertops and other design elements of your kitchen, but stands out a little from the rest.

  4. Choose a Great Grout
    Don't underestimate the importance of grout! Grout does more than just fill the spaces between the tile. A well-chosen grout sets the tile off, showing it to its best advantage. A quality grout is important for a long-lasting quality renovation, of course, but the color of your grout and how well it coordinates with the tile is also important.

  5. Make a Splash
    Most kitchen updates are fairly straightforward. There's not a lot you can do with a kitchen, other than picking out countertops and cabinet colors. Your backsplash is your chance to make a statement! It's a small space, so you can afford to take some risks, especially over the sink and stove, two important focal points in most kitchens. Spring for the better tile or do something a little different, like turning square tile on the diagonal.

The Importance of Kitchen Updates

Most real estate agents agree that the kitchen is one of the top areas of the home to invest in. It's the heart of every home, and everyone loves one that is attractive and well-appointed. If you're interested in listing your house among other Nassau County homes for sale or Suffolk County homes for sale, we can help! Contact us today to start the process.

July
27

How to Turn Your Basement Into the Ultimate Rec Room

Ultimate Rec Room - Homeowners - Coach Realtors

Our REALTORS® have seen many home trends come and go over the years, but one thing that always appeals to prospective buyers and new homeowners is extra space for leisure activities.

Having a recreation space in the basement is an excellent option for kids and adults alike. Recreational activities help banish stress, promote relaxation, allow for some quality family time, and help keep the kids busy. Not only will your family enjoy using it, but it can increase the value of your home. If you have unfinished or unused space in your basement, here are some ideas to make the most of it.

  • Declutter first
    Always start here. You'll get a better idea of the size and be able to envision the possibilities. If you're currently using it for storage, you may have to relocate some of those items.

  • Decide how to use the space
    If you have a large space, you can divide the space, either visually or physically, for multiple uses. Depending on what you want to do, the size or shape of the space, positioning of pipes, HVAC vents or equipment, and access to electrical outlets or water may be considerations, so it pays to have a plan first. Here are a few popular ideas that families enjoy.

    • TV and living area
    • Home theater
    • Gaming area
    • Traditional rec room activities like a pool table, foosball, ping pong, air hockey, or even a retro arcade game.
    • Children's activity area
    • Reading nook
  • Consider your family's activities and style
    Since you'll want a space the whole family will enjoy, you may want to get everyone's input. You'll also want everyone to feel comfortable in the space. Here are some considerations you may find useful for a family area.

    • Add a child-sized table and chairs or an upholstered chair
    • When storing children's items make sure they can reach them easily.
    • If you'll be spending lots of time there, add a half bathroom for convenience.
  • Repaint
    Light or bright colors on the walls are best since basements are short on natural light. A different color or a painted stripe can serve to visually divide the space for multiple uses.

  • Update or add flooring
    Many basements simply have a concrete floor and some older homes may even have flooring tiles that contain asbestos and would need to be professionally removed. Adding flooring will help keep the area warmer in the winter too. Make sure whatever you choose is suitable for the below-grade installation. You could use different flooring to visually divide the space as well.

  • Make sure there's enough space to move around
    It's especially important for traditional gaming tables like a pool table or if you plan to do VR gaming. Depending on the length of the cues, pool tables will need a minimum of 4-1/2 feet clearance on all sides. VR games require at least enough room to stretch out and move your arms and legs in all directions without hitting anyone else or knocking anything over (usually around 5-6 feet). For other uses, just make sure your family members can move through the area easily.

Coach Realtors can help with your home search in Nassau County, Suffolk County, and the surrounding areas. Contact us today to get started finding the right home for your family.

June
22

Where You Should Put Your Remodeling Dollars?

Remodeling ROI - Sell a Home - Coach Realtors

Everyone wants to live in a beautiful home. Warm weather means that most homeowners are making their way into the home improvement stores and dialing up contractors for those special projects around the house. Whether you plan to spend a little or a lot, our REALTORS® want you to get the most for your investment. Some remodeling projects are worth their weight in gold, while others will return pennies on the dollar. It's important to know which is which before you make your plans.

Golden Opportunities

You'll never get every penny you spend on remodeling back when you put the home on the market. However, the following will give you between 60-70% return. Where these investments are most valuable is in the foot traffic they'll generate from the listing.

  • Update the Kitchen. The kitchen is the heart and hearth of the home. It's a place to gather and relax, to entertain and enjoy the company of family and friends. Thus, it should be comfortable, open, and updated to reflect modern design tastes. Farm sinks, plenty of storage, and stainless steel will go a long way toward attracting the attention of prospective buyers.

  • Give the Master Bedroom a Facelift. The master bedroom is a retreat from work, family, and all the pressures on the other side of the door. Repainting and redecorating can give the bedroom a comfortable, relaxing ambiance.
         
  • Polish the Bathroom. No one wants to take a bath in a dingy, dark, cramped bathroom. updating your bathroom with new tile, updated fixtures, comfortable lighting, and a fresh coat of paint is an investment in your comfort and the home's appeal to prospective buyers.

  • Trim up the Landscape. Landscaping is often overlooked, but the fact is it's the first thing prospective buyers notice. Make sure that your grass is green, your trees are trimmed, and the flower beds look their best. If you don't have a green thumb, hire a professional landscaper to design an easy-to-maintain yard that blends into the neighborhood.

Money Pits to Avoid

  • Swimming Pools and Hot Tubs. These flashy amenities are fun. However, they're expensive to install and costly to maintain. Further, most people don't use them as much as they think they will. Most sellers only recoup a fraction of the installation costs when they sell their home.

  • Special-Purpose Rooms. It's great to have a nursery for your kids, a woodworking room for hobbies, and other special-purpose rooms. However, prospective buyers whose needs/interests don't match yours won't be willing to spend a premium for it; in fact, they'll likely ask for a price reduction so they can renovate it for their own special interests.

  • More Garage Space. Unless you have none or extremely limited garage space, most people are content with a one or two-car garage. At most, you'll get 60% of your investment back when you sell the home.

The Final Rule of Thumb

Whether you plan to spend $1,000 or $50,000 on renovations, one thing every homeowner needs to keep an eye on is the value of real estate in the area. There is no limit to how much you can spend, but there is a limit on what buyers will pay. One of the first things they'll look at is home values in the neighborhood. If your home is $100,000 more than a comparable home for sale down the street, they'll get the contract.

Contact us for more information about remodeling projects we recommend to our clients. It's our pleasure to help you choose upgrades and features that will stand out in the market. 

May
18

How to Make Your Home a Sanctuary

Create a Sanctuary - Homeowners - Coach Realtors

While a vacation or retreat are excellent ways to de-stress and reconnect with your family, sometimes it's not possible to get away. Ensure that your time at home is at pleasant as possible by turning your home into a sanctuary. Our REALTORS® also find that peaceful properties are attractive to potential homebuyers. Check out a few simple tricks to make your home your own personal sanctuary.

  1. Use Music to Add Ambiance
    Add ambiance to your home in minutes with music. A catchy tune can quickly lift your mood or give you a surge of energy. Make it as convenient as possible to turn your music on and off by using your home assistant to control your playlist.

  2. Create a Nook for Your Hobbies
    Your home should feel like a safe haven after a stressful day. Carving out a chunk of time for one of your hobbies is a fantastic way to relax and recharge. However, don't waste time gathering supplies and finding a clear spot at your kitchen table.

    Instead, set up a permanent nook to enjoy your hobby. Use a spare corner or closet to set up a desk if your hobby involves crafting or writing, or position a cozy chair and storage basket close to a window if you like to knit or read. Or, if you need a little more space for woodworking or painting, set up a studio in your basement or garage.

  3. Remove Items That Don't Enrich Your Life 
    If your home feels stressful and you can't figure out why, start by getting rid of all your clutter and any items that don't enrich your life. Decluttering may feel overwhelming if you have a lot of overflowing spaces. Break the decluttering process into sections and start with one room or category of items (like clothing or paperwork) at a time. 

    Trash anything you don't use, that you don't wear, or that you just don't enjoy seeing. Make sure that every remaining item has a home, and see that your family understands where items are supposed to go.

  4. Get Rid of Stressful Reminders
    In many households, it's common to stick a bill or appointment reminder to your fridge or display board so you don't forget about it. However, seeing these items every time you walk into the room will make the space feel like anything but a sanctuary.

    File these items away in your planner or household binder. Replace them with photos or charming magnets that make you happy.

  5. Embrace Natural Light
    Give any room a quick pick-me-up by bathing it in natural light. Open the blinds or drapes and move any furniture that is blocking the light. The room will instantly feel more peaceful.

  6. Give Your Home a Signature Scent
    A pleasant spot has to have a delightful scent. Use candles, essential oils, or a diffuser to give your home a scent that welcomes you the moment you step through the door. When you smell that signature scent, this signals that you've arrived at your sanctuary. 

Concerned that your home isn't right for your needs? Contact us to explore other properties!

May
11

Get a Jump on Summer Home Maintenance

Summer Home Maintenance - Coach Realtors

Practicing social distancing presents the perfect opportunity for a clean and happy home by tackling home maintenance projects. While prepping your home for summer can be tedious, our REALTORS® know that it helps you take back control of your home and give yourself the chance to beat the heat.

Check these summer home maintenance to-dos off your list to keep your home in prime working condition.

  • Wash Windows and Screens
    One obvious sign of a neglected home is dirty and ripped screens and windows. Start by vacuuming window screens that have dust and a small amount of dirt. You want to use a vacuum with a soft brush attachment. Then scrub each one with some dish soap and brush to remove lingering debris. You can then set them outside to dry before putting them back in place. Then, get some type of window cleaning solution to tackle the window from the inside out. Clean windows can make a huge difference with the amount of light that passes through them.
  • Freshen up Your Home's Exterior
    Your home's exterior should shine in summer. So, walk around your home to see if there are any signs of rot or damage from the winter – those spots should be repaired first. If your home's paint needs a refresh, you can do that on a day when you have nice weather. Brighten up the shutter and replace any weathering siding to maintain the best summer curb appeal.
  • Focus on Your Garden
    Summer is also a great time to boost curb appeal. That includes tackling things such as mulching to create a clean and crisp appearance, keep weeds out of your gardens, and lock in moisture to help your plants thrive through the hot summer months. If you haven't already, get a few flowers to decorate the front of your home. Remove any dead plants, mow your lawn, and trim shrubs, bushes, and trees, ensuring they are kept away from your home AC unit and roof. And don't forget to test your irrigation systems at the beginning of the season for any cracks or worn-out sections.
  • Prep the Deck and Porch
    Summer is a great time for hanging out on the deck or porch and watching the world go by. Now is time to get your porch ready by cleaning the floor, front door, windows, and windowsill. Use a long-handled duster to remove cobwebs from high corners, light fixtures, and ceiling. Examine your deck to make sure there is no structural damage and hammer any nails that are loose. If needed, sand and reseal the surface. If you have deck or porch furniture, wipe it down and wash the cushions.
  • Clean Your Grill
    Make sure your grill is ready for backyard barbecues by deep-cleaning it. If you have a charcoal grill, empty it and wipe away any residue or dust. With hot water, soap, and a scrub brush, clean both the outside and inside of the grill and let it dry before use. For a gas grill, turn the heat up and let it cook for about 30 minutes. Allow it to cool and use a brush to clean the grates and interior. Wash the exterior with a sponger dipped in warm, soapy water.

  • Inspect Cooling Units
    The summer heat means it's time to prep your cooling units for their busiest time of the year. You may want to let a pro handle your HVAC unit to make sure everything works properly all season long, but you can remove, clean, or replace filters to boost performance and cut energy bills. Use a damp rag to clean all ceiling and house fans, including vents.
  • Check Safety Devices
    Smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, and any home timers should be checked at least once a month. Test the detectors by pressing the test button and replace old batteries to make sure they are in working order. Also, check the expiration date on fire extinguishers and replace them if needed.

Ready to put your home on the market among Nassau County homes for sale or Suffolk County homes for sale? Our team would be happy to help get your home sold quickly and for the right price. Contact us today to speak to an agent.

May
4

What's That Noise? Help for First-Time Homeowners

House Noises and Solutions - Coach Realtors

Creaks, groans, bumps in the night. Houses make all kinds of strange sounds, some of which can be downright unnerving if you're a first-time homeowner. 

Our REALTORS® have heard them all. Some really are "the house settling," just like your parents always told you. Some are common (but often irritating) noises that you can get rid of with little more than a few turns of a wrench. But a few household noises might represent a serious issue that needs professional attention.

  • Whistling Windows
    Few household sounds are more unsettling than the wind whistling through leaky windows at night. Luckily, this is generally an easy problem to fix. Just use caulk or weather stripping to seal up the gaps around leaky windows. You'll put an end to the ghostly whining, and probably make your home a bit more energy-efficient in the process.

  • Running Water
    It's normal to hear running water in your pipes when someone runs the shower, flushes the toilet, or turns on a water-using appliance like the dishwasher or washing machine. But you should never hear water running if nobody's using anything. If you do, turn off the main water valve and see if the sound stops. If it does, you have a leak somewhere.

  • Scratching in the Walls
    This is one you don't want to ignore. If you hear a sound inside your walls or roof that sounds like scratching or scurrying, there's a very good chance you have one or more uninvited guests. Mice, rats, squirrels, and raccoons are often to blame. If you suspect a pest problem, it's best to call an animal control expert before it gets worse. They're not just annoying; they can chew through insulation, siding and even electrical wires.

  • Banging Pipes
    Chances are you've been in a house with a steam radiator that makes those incessant banging and clanging sounds when the heat turns on. As frustrating as those noises are, they're usually easy to fix. Banging in your radiator is usually caused by the water not draining properly, in which case you can fix the problem by putting wooden shims under one side to level it out.

  • Water Heater Sounds
    The strange sounds that sometimes come from an old water heater (usually described as bubbling, popping or crackling) are usually the result of sediment buildup. A lot of sediment can accumulate in water heaters over time, and you may hear it bubbling or cracking when the cycle starts. This sound isn't a death sentence for your water heater, but it often means it's nearing the end of its lifespan. Ideally, the best way to prevent this sediment buildup is to drain and flush the tank a couple of times a year.

  • Mysterious Hissing Sounds
    Hissing sounds could have many possible sources, but a gas leak is one possible cause. It can be hard to pinpoint the exact source of a mysterious hissing sound, especially if it's coming from a hard-to-reach place, so it's usually best to err on the side of caution and contact a professional.

  • Furnace Noises
    Furnaces all have their quirks, but if yours starts making a new and persistent sound, it's usually best to contact an HVAC professional. Squeaking, squealing, banging, popping, clanking, and whistling could all indicate potential issues, and it's always best to nip problems in the bud before they become more serious. Furnaces are expensive to replace, and it's wise to have it serviced every six months or so to keep it healthy and avoid potentially costly repairs. 

Contact us today to learn more about the ins and outs of homeownership. We can help you find the right place to call home among the many Nassau County homes for sale and Suffolk County homes for sale on Long Island.

April
27

Sellers: Which Landscaping Trends to Try—And What to Skip

Landscaping Trends - Coach Realtors

Now is a great time to start planning your landscaping projects. As you ponder the plethora of options you can add to your landscape, the following are some that our REALTORS®  recommend and some that you should leave for someone else's lawn. 

Trends to Follow

  • Trend #1 - Kept It Low-Maintenance
    21st-century life is moving faster and faster. With more to do, that means less time to take care of the landscape. If there's one overarching trend, low-maintenance is the bedrock you want to build your landscape upon. Think simple, classy, and minimal maintenance with your decorative elements, plants, grass, etc.

  • Trend #2 - What Was Inside, Is Now Outside, too
    Outdoor living areas are growing in popularity. Outdoor sitting areas complete with fully automated surround sound audio and video systems are ideal for entertaining. Better still, upgrade the backyard grill to a backyard kitchen outfitted with refrigerators, sinks, cutting tables, and everything you need to host a backyard bash that will have the neighbors begging for an invite. 

  • Trend #3 - Lay Porcelain Tile
    Concrete, wood, and other outdoor building elements tend to suffer the effects of weather as time passes. Porcelain flooring does not. It is resilient and designed to last. Most importantly, it won't absorb moisture (thus, it won't expand and crack), plus it's highly resistant to scratches and damage, so it will look new for many years to come.

  • Trend #4 - Light It Up
    Homeowners want to enjoy their landscape long after the sun goes down for the day. The right combination of downlight, bullet, garden, well, and wash light can create a stunning ambiance for you to enjoy. When you get the mix just right, you'll see just how fast the lights attract interested buyers to your door. 

  • Trend #5 - Xeriscaping is Still in Vogue
    Xeriscaping is geared toward creating the most eco-friendly landscape possible. Its primary purpose is to minimize water consumption. As a bonus, it also reduces maintenance. While there's typically plenty of moisture in New York, it never hurts to shave a few more dollars off the water bill.

  • Trend #6 - Climb the Walls with Your Garden
    Vertical gardening is ideal for small landscapes where space is at a premium. However, it's also popular in larger landscapes because it frees up space for more substantial patios, outdoor seating areas, swimming pools, etc. A well-positioned vertical garden can also create privacy or be used to create an aromatic backdrop when filled with herbs and spices. 

Things to Skip

  • #1 - Don't Make It Too Eclectic
    Ornate designs look great in photographs, but not so much in real-life. When in doubt, opt for simple elegance rather than a creative pattern that may not match the home.

  • #2 - Don't Mismatch the Front and Backyard
    What you have upfront for the neighbors to see, should match what you have in the back for your enjoyment. Make sure the front yard and backyard have a cohesive design and layout.

  • #3 - Planting Any Tree
    The right trees add value to a property; the wrong trees do just the opposite. Pick low-maintenance, hearty growth trees that do well in New York's climate as opposed to exotic species that may wither and die. 

Contact us for more information about the landscaping ideas we recommend to clients preparing to settle into their new home or preparing to sell their current home soon. It's our pleasure to answer your questions and tell you more about what we see in Nassau County and Suffolk County homes for sale. 

April
13

7 Deep Cleaning Chores You Never Have Time to Do

Deep Cleaning Tips - Coach Realtors

With everyone spending more time at home, we're all looking for productive ways to use our time. Many of our REALTORS® are using their extra time to tackle those deep cleaning chores that they never seem to have time to get to. Here are a few of their best tips.

  1. Freshen Up Your Bed
    You probably wash your sheets regularly, but when was the last time you cleaned your bed? Start by stripping off all the bedding and laundering it. This includes comforters, duvet covers, bed skirts, shams, and pillows.

    Using an extra spin cycle can help lower your drying times. Hang synthetic items outdoors and dry the rest in the dryer on low. Adding a few tennis balls to the dryer will help keep pillows from clumping. If thick comforters are too large for your home washing machine, you may need to make a trip to the laundromat.

    Next, spread a thin layer of baking soda over your mattress. Let it sit for about two hours, and then vacuum it off. This will help get rid of any odor-causing bacteria. Now is also a good time to flip the mattress. 
  1. Polish the Kitchen Cabinets
    Wipe the dust off any exposed cabinet tops first. Then, clean and polish your cabinet doors using wood cleaner (for wood cabinets) or warm water mixed with a drop of dish soap (for painted or laminate cabinets). Also clean the door pulls so they're grime-free and shiny. 
  1. Clean Ceiling Fans and AC Vents
    Your AC vents and ceiling fans collect an amazing amount of dust. Start by pulling off the vent covers and wash them in warm soapy water. Then, turn to your ceiling fans.

    A flexible static duster or specialized ceiling fan brush will make this job much easier. If you don't have one handy, use a pillowcase to remove the majority of the dust from each blade then finish cleaning them with a damp cloth. 
  1. Refresh Trash Cans and Cleaning Tools
    People rarely think about cleaning their trash cans and cleaning tools, but they're probably some of the dirtiest things in your home. Use a solution of bleach and warm water to clean and sanitize your trash cans, recycle bins, and wastebaskets.

    Also wash reusable mop heads in the washing machine. Soak non-removable ones in hot water and detergent for at least 15 minutes then hang them up to dry. Do the same with your brooms, dustpans, and scrub brushes. Throw away any used sponges and replace them with new ones.  
  1. Clean Windows and Window Treatments
    Clean your windows inside and out. Also clean the window sill and window tracks. Make sure to remove any gunk that has built up in the corners of the window frames.

    Take down any drapes and wash them or put them in the dryer for a few minutes to fluff them up. Wipe down the rods and rings and then hang them back up. Save yourself the hassle of taking down blinds. Instead, simply vacuum them with a brush attachment. If they're very dirty, wipe them down with a vinegar and water solution. 
  1. Deep Clean Your Kitchen Appliances
    Wipe down the fridge, stove, microwave, and dishwasher from top to bottom. Remove everything from the fridge and defrost the freezer. Use the vacuum to clean out the refrigerator coils and vent.  
  1. Clean the Floors and Floorboards
    Lastly, clean all of your floors and dust the floorboards. Start by vacuuming the floorboards to remove dust, then wipe them down with a solution of warm water, dish soap, and vinegar. When it's time to clean your floors, take the time to learn the best cleaning methods for each flooring type. You may also want to consider having your carpets and area rugs professionally cleaned. 

Were you thinking about buying or selling a home this year? There's no need to wait! We're using online resources and virtual tours to help our clients meet their real estate goals. Contact us today to learn more!

March
30

Office Space: 5 Places Around the House to Add Workspace

Home Office Space - Coach Realtors

Need a space for a home office but aren't sure where it should go? If you've got a spare room, then it's a no brainer. But if all your rooms already have a function, it may be a little trickier. Your office location may also hinge on whether you're working remotely and need a place to work fulltime, or you just need a place to pay bills.

Regardless of where you decide to set up, creating a dedicated office space can be fun. And as our REALTORS® around Long Island will tell you, it can also be a selling point that will make your home a stand out among other Nassau County homes for sale or Suffolk County homes for sale. Here are five possibilities for your home office.

Choosing a Home Office Space

  1. Spare room. That spare room where you're stowing your unused stuff is the most obvious choice for your home office. Even if you've got a bed and chest of drawers in there for guests, you can still make room for a desk, some shelves, and a file cabinet. With today's computer equipment being so compact, you probably won't need that much space, but arrange things so you're not cramped. Get rid of stored items so it feels more like a serious workspace.

    Think light and airy when decorating. The days of dark wood and dim lighting are done. Choose simple, contemporary furniture with modern lines in grays, shades of white and black, but liven things up with a splash of color from pillows, a painting or framed photograph, or bold-colored drapes. Make your space comfortable so it's not like a prison and you dread going there.

  2. Garage, basement or attic. If your garage, basement or attic is unfinished, consider renovating it for office space. You'll need drywall and insulation, carpeting or rugs over concrete floors, and some kind of heating — maybe a ductless mini-split, which can heat and cool and doesn't require ductwork. Just make sure it's warm and cozy, or you won't want to work there. Section your garage space off from tools and car with partitions.

  3. Outdoor office. Manufactured sheds and outdoor buildings are being used these days for myriad purposes, including offices and studios, and can be finished out so that they're warm and habitable with ceramic heaters or mini-splits. Think carefully about windows and lighting if you have one of these built. 

    Another desirable feature about an outdoor office is you can close the door for privacy, or invite clients to come inside — which can be awkward inside your home.

  4. Dining room table. This isn't the optimal choice but if space is at a premium, it may be your only choice. Use the dining room table or a kitchen counter for your laptop, and move your filing cabinet into a storage space or closet when you're not using it. It's really not advisable to work in a bedroom or any room where you usually relax, as you'll be drawn to think about finishing your work rather than sleeping or chilling out.

  5. Closet. You may be blessed with a huge walk-in closet that you don't need for clothing and shoes. It can be ideal for a small office, with a work table, filing cabinet and even shelves and pegboard. Keep it neat and simple; paint the facing wall a calming color such as coral, light blue, or mint.

Our agents have other hints for creating an office space in your new or renovated Suffolk or Nassau County home for sale. Contact us today. 

Disclaimer: All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. All properties are subject to prior sale, change or withdrawal. Neither listing broker(s) or information provider(s) shall be responsible for any typographical errors, misinformation, misprints and shall be held totally harmless. Listing(s) information is provided for consumers personal, non-commercial use and may not be used for any purpose other than to identify prospective properties consumers may be interested in purchasing. Information on this site was last updated 05/18/2022. The listing information on this page last changed on 05/18/2022. The data relating to real estate for sale on this website comes in part from the Internet Data Exchange program of OneKey MLS (last updated Wed 05/18/2022 6:25:36 PM EST). Real estate listings held by brokerage firms other than Coach Realtors may be marked with the Internet Data Exchange logo and detailed information about those properties will include the name of the listing broker(s) when required by the MLS. All rights reserved. --

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