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

Live, Love, Long Island Blog Home

Buy a home | 24 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 If it's old, damaged, broken, outdated, or a specialty item you are not likely to use again, then get rid of it.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. 

March
21

New Puppy? How to Get Your Home Ready

Prepare a Home for a Puppy - Coach Realtors

Getting a new puppy is exciting for everyone in the family, but it's also a big responsibility everyone needs to tackle. To celebrate National Puppy Day on March 23rd, let's talk about how to puppy-proof your house from your newest addition to the family! Here are a few tips from our REALTORS® for keeping your puppy safe and your home chaos-free.

  • Keep your trash secured. Trash is one of the number one puppy magnets in your house. Not only does it smell good (to your pup), but it's like a huge toy box full of things to explore and smell and eat! Trash cans that tuck away into drawers are popular in Nassau County homes for sale, but if you don't have one, you can invest in a heavy-duty trash can with a lid. Smaller trash cans with lids and foot pedals can also be purchased for bathrooms and bedrooms.

  • Tape up or cover up your cords. Cords are perfect for chewing, or at least so thinks a teething puppy! You can prevent your pup from a dangerous situation by making electrical cords inaccessible. While it's not possible to put most cords out of your puppy's reach, you can cover them with heavy-duty cord protectors or tape them to the baseboards.

  • Store drugs and chemicals out of reach. Unless you have small children (the two-legged variety) and still have child locks installed on the cupboard doors, your best bet for keeping your pup safe is to store medications and dangerous chemicals up high. Utilize upper cupboards and medicine cabinets, even if it's something you'd normally keep under the sink. Don't keep hazardous drugs and chemicals on top of countertops, even if that seems high enough to keep out of the puppy's reach, as bottles can get knocked over and roll onto the floor where the puppy would have access.

  • Keep things off the floor and out of reach. It's time to start training everyone in the house not to keep anything on the floor, as anything within the puppy's reach could quickly be carried off or chewed up. This includes shoes, laundry, and even kids' toys. Many Suffolk County homes for sale have plenty of cupboards and closet space for organizing things that shouldn't be on the floor, but be sure to discuss with your children how important it is to put things away properly after using them.

  • Use baby gates to limit movement. It's difficult to puppy-proof the entire house, but fortunately, you can utilize baby gates to keep the pup confined to a safe area when you're too busy or distracted to supervise. For instance, if the kids' bedrooms aren't puppy-proofed, a baby gate on the stairs can keep pup downstairs with you during the day. A puppy playpen is also great for keeping the pup on hard floor for easy cleanup or to keep him away from hazards elsewhere in the room.

  • Provide plenty of toys. Puppies have a legitimate need to chew as their adult teeth come in, so providing dedicated dog toys can protect your possessions from damage by giving your pup something he's allowed to chew. If you catch him chewing something he shouldn't be, firmly tell him "no," and then give him one of his own toys to chew on instead.

Like with raising kids, puppies need lots of space to burn off excess energy. Has your little family outgrown your current home? Contact us today to start searching for your (and your pup's) dream home.

February
21

Home Hacks: Who Knew Vinegar Could Do All This?

Cleaning with Vinegar - Home Maintenance - Coach Realtors

If you're ready to give your home a thorough cleaning, our REALTORS® suggest you start with a bottle of distilled white vinegar. It's an affordable, natural cleaner that easily cuts through grime, bacteria, and mildew, and it's perfectly safe to use on a variety of household surfaces throughout your home.

  • Make Your Kitchen Sparkle
    Your kitchen is a busy place. In addition to a buildup of grease, grime, and bacteria on appliances and surfaces, your kitchen may have lingering odors from your stove, refrigerator, dishwasher, disposal, and trash cans. Cleaning your dirty kitchen with white vinegar is easy and fast with these cleaning tips.
    • Stove and OvenVinegar's acidity cuts right through grease and grime. Mix ½ vinegar and ½ water in a spray bottle, spray your stovetop and the inside of your oven and let the mixture sit for 10 minutes, then remove with soapy water.

    • MicrowaveClean your microwave by placing ½ cup vinegar and ½ cup water in a glass bowl. Heat the liquid for 2-3 minutes until it boils, then wipe away food spatters.

    • RefrigeratorThrow out the toxic chemical cleaners around food. Use equal parts vinegar and water on a dampened cloth to clean your refrigerator shelves, racks, and crisper drawers.

    • Dishwasher Vinegar dissolves food debris and mineral deposits. Pour 1 cup of vinegar on the dishwasher floor (beneath the racks), then run the dishwasher through one cycle while empty.

    • DisposalPour vinegar onto a small scrub brush. Sprinkle baking soda on the brush and into the disposal, then scrub to remove built-up grime and stinky odors.

    • Trash CansBefore adding a new trash bag, spritz the can and lid with a vinegar and water mixture, then wipe clean. This routine will get rid of smelly trash can odors for good.

You can even clean stainless steel and enamel pots and pans with equal parts vinegar and water. Pour the mixture in, bring it to a boil, and old stains will disappear.

  • Disinfect Your Bathroom
    When cleaning your bathroom, full-strength vinegar or slightly diluted vinegar will eliminate bacteria around toilets, tub and shower drains, and fixtures.
    • ToiletsPour 1 cup vinegar in the bowl and let sit overnight. The next morning, sprinkle the toilet bowl with baking soda or Borax powder, scrub the bowl, then flush.

    • Tub and Shower DrainsTo kill bacteria, pour ½ cup distilled white vinegar down the drain and let sit for several hours. Pour hot water down the drain and clean the area with soapy water.

    • Showerheads and FaucetsIf you have sediment buildup on showerheads and faucets, pour white vinegar into a plastic bag, then secure the bag to showerheads and faucets with a twist-tie or rubber band. Ensure the vinegar covers the fixture opening and leave the bag on overnight.
  • Refresh Your Floors and Rugs
    Vinegar provides a natural, chemical-free solution that removes dirt, grime, and pet odors from floors and rugs.
    • Wood and Tile Floors – Add ½ cup vinegar to 1 gallon of water to clean wood, laminated, and ceramic tile floors. Vinegar should be avoided on natural stone floors and countertops due to high acidity, which will etch into the stone. 

    • Rugs and Carpets – To remove unpleasant pet odors from rugs and carpets, mix ½ cup vinegar to 1 gallon of water, spray the rug/carpet, then sprinkle it with baking soda. Let it dry overnight, then vacuum.

If you're looking for Nassau County homes for sale or Suffolk County homes for sale, contact us to help you find the perfect fit.

February
14

Don't Let Home Emergencies Take You by Surprise

Be Prepared for Home Emergencies - Coach Realtors

Owning a home means taking care of minor problems before they become major difficulties. When you buy a new home, however, getting to know everything about it can lead to a few surprises. Our REALTORS® offer the following tips to help you handle some of the more common emergencies you may find yourself dealing with.

  • Know Where Your Shut-off Valves
    When you find a home you like out of the many Nassau County homes for sale, one of the first things you will want to do is find shut-off valves. These will include the main shut-off valve for water, as well as the gas line if your home has one. If the home is all-electric, know where the fuse box is located. In many situations, especially with broken pipes, knowing where the main shut-off valve is the best way to stop the water so damage will be kept to a minimum.

  • Keep a List of Professional Technicians/Contractors Close at Hand
    Every agent has a list of professional technicians or contractors to repair the different features in your home. When you're thinking of buying one of these Suffolk County homes for sale, ask your agent for repair techs and contractors they recommend. Having a plumber, roofer, electrician, and an HVAC repairman on speed dial is the best way to get repairs underway before too much damage can be done.

  • Make Sure to Keep a Well-Stocked Tool Box
    Many people prefer not to work on the things in their homes. Some, however, love to tinker around and are quite capable of making small repairs on their own. Always have a fully stocked toolbox on hand with a hammer, mallet, screwdrivers, pliers, and any other useful tool you can think of. They will come in handy if you ever have to put something together or try to make a few quick repairs until a professional can make it out to your home.

  • Teach Your Family Safety First
    Whenever you move, the first thing you should do is talk to your family about safety. Discuss the best exit routes from various areas of the house and designate a safe space to meet outside your home. Have a list of phone numbers ready if they would ever have to call a technician or repairman. Always teach your family safety first.

  • Know When to Call for Help
    There are times when emergencies take place that are simply outside of our capabilities to fix. Know when to call for help. Usually, a quick glance will tell you whether or not you should even attempt the job. Calling in a repairman isn't admitting defeat. It's simply deferring the job to someone who has had more training.

When you are ready to find the house of your dreams, call the realty agency that will always put you and your family first. Contact us so we can get the process started!

January
17

Homeowners: How to Store Holiday Decorations

Holiday Decoration Storage - Coach Realtors

Putting up your Christmas tree and lights was fun, but the fun stops, and stress kicks in when it's time to take them down. Storing holiday decorations can easily go from full-blown fun to frustrating. However, Our REALTORS® have compiled five simple and practical tips to help you correctly store your holiday decorations.

  • Buy an Ornament Chest for Your Christmas Ornaments
    An ornament chest is the best way to store your Christmas tree decorations and ornaments since it contains several layers that allow you to categorize each item. These layers offer easy access to the ornaments when needed.

    Before putting your decorations in, consider placing a cloth on the chest to prevent the movement of the ornaments. You can also use padding or tissue paper to prevent the decorations from brushing against the chest surface and scratching.


  • Get a Box for Artificial Christmas Trees
    If you bought your artificial Christmas tree during the holidays, the highest chances are that the tree came packed in a box. Since the box is already a correct fit for your tree, you can use it to store the tree.

    When packing the tree, you will be using opposite steps as you did when unpacking it. Bundle up each branch and ensure the tree remains straight as you pack it in. Alternatively, you can use ceiling hooks to hang your tree in the garage.


  • Storing Ceramic Houses and Figurines
    Undoubtedly festive ceramic houses and figurines add a gorgeous display during the holidays. However, they can be challenging to pack. Similar to ornaments, they are fragile and are sometimes attached to lights. Therefore, packing them needs you to pay attention to detail to avoid damage or breakage.

    Ceramic houses, figurines, and other glass ornaments should be handled and stored as fragile items. Get bubble wraps, carefully wrap them in, and keep them in a box. Seal the box tightly and if possible, remember to label it as fragile and store the box on other bulky boxes.


  • Ensure Your Lights Are Tangle Free
    Christmas lights can be hard to store since they are long and contain little garlands. No matter how carefully you roll them up, they will end up tangled. When storing them, you should ensure they are tangle-free to prevent interfering with the wiring or making ends. You can use delivery boxes to keep your lights.

    Cut your box or cardboard into rectangular shapes. Hang the rectangular pieces and wind your lights around the craps. Otherwise, you can use water bottles as storage for beaded garlands. You can also try using a pill organizer to store any spare light bulbs you have.


  • Storing Wrapping Paper and Other Supplies
    Did you know that those garment bags you use to store wreaths can have a different use? Use a garment bag to hang up your wrapping paper and other supplies. Besides making them easy to access, they will remain dust-free during the year. 

    When it comes to storing supplies like ribbons and tapes, you can use a shoebox to keep everything organized and in one location. A shoe box makes it easy to color organize ribbons and notice when the tape supply runs low. 

Ready to own your home in Long Island? Go through Nassau County homes for sale and Suffolk County homes for sale to find an ideal home for you. Contact us once you do and get started with the buying process. 

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.

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
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.

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 6:39:28 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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