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Are you planning to remodel your home in 2015. Verify that the buyers are getting what they want for you to get the most for your money.

Top Real Estate Stories of 2014

Here at the Book Scan, my job is to not only review books and keep you in the loop with pertinent book news, but to learn what real estate professionals want to read about. In that spirit, I wanted to look at the top ten full-length articles published in 2014 (in terms of unique visitors) at REALTOR® Magazine Online.library_unsplash

As you’ll see below, our top ten is an interesting mix of design trends and business/technology advice. But another phenomenon that became clear when looking at all of the favorite blog entries and shorter Daily News pieces was your intense focus on safety in 2014. Readers were extremely engaged in stories about slain Arkansas REALTOR® Beverly Carter in the daily news and in our blogs. Stories about staying safe on the job and other real estate pros facing harrowing situations in the field ranked high in our daily news feeds as well. And in the article list below, one piece on how to help clients stay safe was also a popular read, coming in at number six:

  1. 21 Hot Housing Trends for 2015: Everyone wants to be hip, and the latest trends in design can help distinguish one home from another. And it’s not all flash; many new home fads are geared to pare maintenance and energy use and deliver information faster. Here’s a look at what’s coming.
  2. 5 Reasons You Won’t Make it Selling Real Estate: Unless you are fully committed to real estate and have a solid business plan, you will have trouble finding success. Sales coach Jared James outlines five situations that can bring down your career — and how to avoid them.
  3. 10 Things Real Estate Pros Need to Stop Telling Themselves: Words are powerful, and the words you say to yourself can make or break you as a real estate professional. Here are 10 things you need to stop saying immediately.
  4. 10 Facebook Dos and Don’ts: Facebook is a great marketing tool, if you use it wisely.
  5. Smartphone Photography Gets an Upgrade: At the 2014 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, several manufacturers are introducing ways to upgrade your mobile photographs with attachable lenses, cameras with more megapixels, and portable printers.
  6. The Safety Talk You Need to Have With Clients: Keep all parties safe in a transaction by offering buyers and sellers these important tips.
  7. 2013-14 Cost vs. Value: Remodeling Pays Off Big Time: Home improvement projects across the board are giving home owners a greater return on their investment when it comes time to sell. Find out which projects “open the door” to buyers and where remodeling dollars stretch the furthest.
  8. How to Avoid Total Self-Destruction: You can’t miss out on an epic deal because you were too busy meditating. But you also can’t give yourself a heart attack. What is the answer?
  9. A Dozen Ways to Make Kitchens Sizzle: Whether they’re getting their house ready for the market or creating a dream kitchen in a home they just bought, clients considering a major kitchen redo will need guidance. Here are 12 tips and trends to help you serve as their resource.
  10. What Millennial Buyers Want (Now): Here are 10 trends in home amenities and interior design that elicit interest from the newest generation of buyers.

What were the most important stories to your business in 2014? What do you think will be the big themes of 2015?

Meg White

Meg White is the multimedia web producer for REALTOR® Magazine and administrator of the magazine’s Weekly Book Scan blog. Contact her at mwhite[at]realtors.org.

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Janine’s Thoughts: Thank You for Another Great Year

blog thankyou“Hold on to what is good, even if it’s a handful of earth. Hold on to what you believe, even if it’s a tree that stands by itself. Hold on to what you must do, even if it’s a long way from here. Hold on to your life, even if it’s easier to let go. Hold on to my hand, even if I’ve gone away from you.”

Pueblo Indian Prayer

Now that the holidays are here, I take a break from all my routine emails to thank everyone in my business. I hope your holidays are joyful. My team and I would like to wish you a Happy Holiday and a Happy New Year.

Thank you to all my sellers who have trusted me and listed and sold with me.

Thank you to all my buyers who have chosen me as their agent and purchased a home with me this year.

Thank you to all my landlords who keep giving me their listings.

Thank you to all my prospects that see the difference in me, and cherry pick me as their agent knowing they have the choice of working with another agent.

Thank you to all the home inspectors on my team who make the home inspection issues feel like an icing on a piece of cake. They help my buyers make a wise decision whether the house has good bones and needs some work or a money pit and need to move on to the next house.

Thank you to all the mortgage brokers, underwriters, and appraisers on my team who make the mortgage commitment letter an easy process although they have to go through 100 hoops to make money come to the closing table.

Thank you to all the attorneys and paralegals on my team for reviewing the purchase and sale, writing extensions, reviewing the mortgage commitment, preparing HUD statement and  getting all the parties to the closing table without any tears.

Thank you to my team at RE/MAX Legacy for all their support, my fellow Realtors that are on the other side of the transaction, the fire fighters for smoke inspections, the utility companies for the final readings, and everyone that plays a role in my team.

Thank you (last but not least) to my husband and my son who have to deal with a mom and spouse who has to juggle a crazy schedule, not be around at dinner time, absent at sports events and squeezing a pick up between two showings.

Thank you to my friends that trust that a business relationship does not affect a friendship but makes it stronger.

Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year to everyone who held my hand this year, thank you for your trust, your knowledge, your patience, your support and your commitment.

Thank you for making my year such a successful year and my job such a fun environment. Thanks for letting me know if I can help anyone of your friends or family members buy, sell or rent in 2015. 

 

223 Concord Turnpike, Cambridge MA

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Janine Elkhoury
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<tr style=”padding:0px; border: 0px;margin:0px;”><td align=”right” style=”margin:0px;padding-top:20px; padding-right:10px; padding-left:5px; padding-bottom:5px; border:0px; color:white; font-family: verdana; font-size:11px; text-decoration: none;text-align: right; line-height:15px”>Licensed In:<br>MA</td></tr>
<tr style=”padding:0px; border: 0px;margin:0px;”><td align=”right” style=”margin:0px;padding-top:20px; padding-right:10px; padding-left:5px; padding-bottom:5px; border:0px; color:white; font-family: verdana; font-size:11px; text-decoration: none;text-align: right; line-height:15px”>License #:<br>MA9055037</td></tr>
<tr style=”padding:0px; border: 0px;margin:0px;”><td align=”right” style=”margin:0px;padding-top:20px; padding-right:10px; padding-left:5px; padding-bottom:5px; border:0px; color:white; font-family: verdana; font-size:11px; text-decoration: none;text-align: right; font-style: italic; line-height:15px”>Information valid for the date of this posting only. Please contact us for the most current information and status of this property.</td></tr>
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<td width=”65%” align=”left” style=”vertical-align: middle;padding-left:10px; padding-top:0px; padding-right:0px; padding-bottom:0px; margin: 0px; border:0px; text-align:left; width:65%”><table width=”100%” cellspacing=”0″ cellpadding=”1″ style=”padding:0px; border:0px;margin:0px;”><tr valign=”top” style=”padding:0px; border:0px;margin:0px;vertical-align: middle”><td height=”30″ align=”left” width=”100%” valign=”bottom” style=”padding-right:10px; padding-left:0px; padding-top:0px; padding-bottom:0px; margin:0px; border:0px; text-align:left; line-height: 20px;” ><a href=”http://searchallproperties.com/listings/2016422/223-Concord-Turnpike—Unit-454-Cambridge-MA” style=”color:black; text-decoration: none;padding:0px; margin:0px; border:0px; line-height: 20px”><span style=”text-decoration: none;margin:0 0 4px;padding:0px;border:0px; line-height: 20px; font-family: ‘helvetica neue’,sans-serif;font-size: 90%;font-size-adjust: none;font-stretch: normal;font-style: normal;font-variant: normal;font-weight: bold;letter-spacing: 3px;line-height: normal;text-transform: uppercase;color:#333333″>223 Concord Turnpike – Unit 454</span></a></td></tr><tr valign=”top” style=”padding:0px; border:0px;margin:0px;vertical-align: middle”><td height=”30″ align=”left” width=”100%” valign=”top” style=”padding-right:10px; text-align:left; padding-left:0px; padding-top:0px; padding-bottom:0px; margin:0px; border:0px; line-height: 15px;”><a href=”http://searchallproperties.com/listings/2016422/223-Concord-Turnpike—Unit-454-Cambridge-MA” style=”color: black; text-decoration: none; padding: 0px; border: 0px none; margin: 0px; line-height: 15px;”><span style=”text-decoration: none;margin:0px;padding:0px; border:0px; line-height: 15px;font-family: ‘helvetica neue’,sans-serif;font-size: 70%;font-size-adjust: none;font-stretch: normal;font-style: normal;font-variant: normal;font-weight: bold;letter-spacing: 3px;line-height: normal;text-transform: uppercase;color:#333333″>Cambridge, MA</span></a></td></tr></table></td><td align=”right” valign=”top” style=”padding:0px; border:0px;margin:0px;vertical-align: middle”><table width=”100%” cellspacing=”0″ cellpadding=”0″ style=”padding:0px; border:0px;margin:0px;width:100%;vertical-align: middle”><tr valign=”top” style=”padding:0px; border:0px;margin:0px;vertical-align: middle” ><td align=”center” width=”50%” style=”padding:0px; border:0px;margin:0px;”><img alt=”QR Code” src=”http://chart.apis.google.com/chart?cht=qr&amp;chs=177×177&amp;chl=http://searchallproperties.com/Homes/2016422/223-Concord-Turnpike—Unit-454-Cambridge-MA” width=”120″ height=”120″ ></td><td align=”left” valign=”middle” width=”50%” style=”color:gray;font-size:12px;padding:0px; border:0px;margin:0px; font-weight: normal; vertical-align: middle; font-family: verdana;text-align:left; line-height: 16px ” >Scan with your smartphone & take me with you.</td></tr></table></td>
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<p><p><span style=”font-family: ‘trebuchet ms’, geneva; font-size: 14pt;”><strong style=”font-family: ‘Courier New’, Calibri, verdana, arial, helvetica; font-size: 10.833333015441895px;”>Looking for a <em>short term rental with potential of long term!!! SUBLET till February 28, 2015.</em> Current rent $3225 expect to rise around 2 percent March 1st. Indoor garage, $165 and $60 for storage (both optional). Security deposit is $1000 if the person has a social security number. Bright apartment, high ceilings, big quadruple pane windows, in energy efficient building with amenities, living room kitchen combo with gas fireplace and hardwood floors two bedroom with walk in closet and upgraded berber wall to wall carpets, two bathroom apartment, a spaciouseplace and oversized walk-in closets in all bedrooms and full size HE Energy Star washers and dryers.</strong></span></p></p>
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How to Clean Up After Thanksgiving in Half the Time

How to Clean Up After Thanksgiving in Half the Time

By: Lisa Kaplan Gordon

The Pilgrims were on to something when they planned a Thanksgiving potluck; here are other good ideas that’ll simplify your T-Day kitchen cleanup.

 

Want something to be thankful for? Check out these tips that’ll make your Thanksgiving kitchen cleanup faster and easier — and will give you more time to enjoy family and friends.

Plan a potluck: The first Thanksgiving was a potluck; so let your guests share the fun and bring dishes to share. Then make sure they take home their serving bowls and platters, which will cut down on dishes to wash and put away.

Decide on disposable: Leave Mom’s good dishes in the breakfront and set your table with disposable — and recyclable — place settings. Party stores sell plastic dishware that look like real china (12 dinner plates for about $13). After eating, collect and toss. If you can’t stand to set a table with anything but your best, use disposables for hors d’oeuvres and dessert.

Triple-duty cookware: Cut down on cleanup by selecting cookware that can go from oven to table to freezer. Or, serve food in edible containers, such as bread bowls or hollowed-out winter squash, which you can either consume or compost.

Empty fridge: Start your holiday with a clean slate, which will make the inevitable mess less daunting than piling clutter onto clutter. Before beginning Thanksgiving prep, pick up depressing home clutter and clean out your fridge to make room for ingredients and leftovers.

If possible, designate a shelf for Thanksgiving food, which should be empty when you start your meal, then filled with leftovers when you’re finished. In a week, clean out that shelf again. Make soup from leftover meat and veggies, and then freeze. Compost wilted greens. Toss old dairy products.

Prepare roasting pans: You won’t have to clean what you don’t get dirty. So line your turkey roasting pans with heavy-duty aluminum foil, or cook the bird in a bag. Pour drippings into a pot to make gravy, then throw away the liner.

Line garbage cans: Double- or triple-line garbage cans, which saves time when the cleaning campaign begins. After you toss a trash bag, there’s another waiting for action.

Soaking bin: Soak pots and pans as soon as you transfer food to platters. But instead of filling the sink with soaking pots, designate a small trashcan as the soaking spot. Fill it will soapy water and dirty pots, and hide it under a sink or in a mudroom. That way, your sink is free throughout the evening to clean as you go and rinse dishes on the way to the dishwasher.

Stop stains: Don’t let stains on carpet or rings on furniture set. While wine stains are still wet, dab with go-to cleaner hydrogen peroxide mixed with a few drops of dish detergent; blot with a clean cloth. Get rid of water stains on wood furniture with a dab of white toothpaste (not gel). Rub in the direction of the grain.

Pump up the music: Up-tempo music will give you a second wind for cleaning. So turn off the soothing dinner tunes and get rocking with our cleaning playlist.

Read more: http://members.houselogic.com/articles/easy-thanksgiving/preview/#ixzz3K2L6sJCp
Follow us: @HouseLogic on Twitter | HouseLogic on FacebookHow to Clean Up After Thanksgiving in Half the Time

By: Lisa Kaplan Gordon

Published: November 1, 2012

The Pilgrims were on to something when they planned a Thanksgiving potluck; here are other good ideas that’ll simplify your T-Day kitchen cleanup.

 

Want something to be thankful for? Check out these tips that’ll make your Thanksgiving kitchen cleanup faster and easier — and will give you more time to enjoy family and friends.

Plan a potluck: The first Thanksgiving was a potluck; so let your guests share the fun and bring dishes to share. Then make sure they take home their serving bowls and platters, which will cut down on dishes to wash and put away.

Decide on disposable: Leave Mom’s good dishes in the breakfront and set your table with disposable — and recyclable — place settings. Party stores sell plastic dishware that look like real china (12 dinner plates for about $13). After eating, collect and toss. If you can’t stand to set a table with anything but your best, use disposables for hors d’oeuvres and dessert.

Triple-duty cookware: Cut down on cleanup by selecting cookware that can go from oven to table to freezer. Or, serve food in edible containers, such as bread bowls or hollowed-out winter squash, which you can either consume or compost.

Empty fridge: Start your holiday with a clean slate, which will make the inevitable mess less daunting than piling clutter onto clutter. Before beginning Thanksgiving prep, pick up depressing home clutter and clean out your fridge to make room for ingredients and leftovers.

If possible, designate a shelf for Thanksgiving food, which should be empty when you start your meal, then filled with leftovers when you’re finished. In a week, clean out that shelf again. Make soup from leftover meat and veggies, and then freeze. Compost wilted greens. Toss old dairy products.

Prepare roasting pans: You won’t have to clean what you don’t get dirty. So line your turkey roasting pans with heavy-duty aluminum foil, or cook the bird in a bag. Pour drippings into a pot to make gravy, then throw away the liner.

Line garbage cans: Double- or triple-line garbage cans, which saves time when the cleaning campaign begins. After you toss a trash bag, there’s another waiting for action.

Soaking bin: Soak pots and pans as soon as you transfer food to platters. But instead of filling the sink with soaking pots, designate a small trashcan as the soaking spot. Fill it will soapy water and dirty pots, and hide it under a sink or in a mudroom. That way, your sink is free throughout the evening to clean as you go and rinse dishes on the way to the dishwasher.

Stop stains: Don’t let stains on carpet or rings on furniture set. While wine stains are still wet, dab with go-to cleaner hydrogen peroxide mixed with a few drops of dish detergent; blot with a clean cloth. Get rid of water stains on wood furniture with a dab of white toothpaste (not gel). Rub in the direction of the grain.

Pump up the music: Up-tempo music will give you a second wind for cleaning. So turn off the soothing dinner tunes and get rocking with our cleaning playlist.

Read more: http://members.houselogic.com/articles/easy-thanksgiving/preview/#ixzz3K2L6sJCp
Follow us: @HouseLogic on Twitter | HouseLogic on FacebookHow to Clean Up After Thanksgiving in Half the Time

By: Lisa Kaplan Gordon

Published: November 1, 2012

The Pilgrims were on to something when they planned a Thanksgiving potluck; here are other good ideas that’ll simplify your T-Day kitchen cleanup.

 

Want something to be thankful for? Check out these tips that’ll make your Thanksgiving kitchen cleanup faster and easier — and will give you more time to enjoy family and friends.

Plan a potluck: The first Thanksgiving was a potluck; so let your guests share the fun and bring dishes to share. Then make sure they take home their serving bowls and platters, which will cut down on dishes to wash and put away.

Decide on disposable: Leave Mom’s good dishes in the breakfront and set your table with disposable — and recyclable — place settings. Party stores sell plastic dishware that look like real china (12 dinner plates for about $13). After eating, collect and toss. If you can’t stand to set a table with anything but your best, use disposables for hors d’oeuvres and dessert.

Triple-duty cookware: Cut down on cleanup by selecting cookware that can go from oven to table to freezer. Or, serve food in edible containers, such as bread bowls or hollowed-out winter squash, which you can either consume or compost.

Empty fridge: Start your holiday with a clean slate, which will make the inevitable mess less daunting than piling clutter onto clutter. Before beginning Thanksgiving prep, pick up depressing home clutter and clean out your fridge to make room for ingredients and leftovers.

If possible, designate a shelf for Thanksgiving food, which should be empty when you start your meal, then filled with leftovers when you’re finished. In a week, clean out that shelf again. Make soup from leftover meat and veggies, and then freeze. Compost wilted greens. Toss old dairy products.

Prepare roasting pans: You won’t have to clean what you don’t get dirty. So line your turkey roasting pans with heavy-duty aluminum foil, or cook the bird in a bag. Pour drippings into a pot to make gravy, then throw away the liner.

Line garbage cans: Double- or triple-line garbage cans, which saves time when the cleaning campaign begins. After you toss a trash bag, there’s another waiting for action.

Soaking bin: Soak pots and pans as soon as you transfer food to platters. But instead of filling the sink with soaking pots, designate a small trashcan as the soaking spot. Fill it will soapy water and dirty pots, and hide it under a sink or in a mudroom. That way, your sink is free throughout the evening to clean as you go and rinse dishes on the way to the dishwasher.

Stop stains: Don’t let stains on carpet or rings on furniture set. While wine stains are still wet, dab with go-to cleaner hydrogen peroxide mixed with a few drops of dish detergent; blot with a clean cloth. Get rid of water stains on wood furniture with a dab of white toothpaste (not gel). Rub in the direction of the grain.

Pump up the music: Up-tempo music will give you a second wind for cleaning. So turn off the soothing dinner tunes and get rocking with our cleaning playlist.

Read more: http://members.houselogic.com/articles/easy-thanksgiving/preview/#ixzz3K2L6sJCp
Follow us: @HouseLogic on Twitter | HouseLogic on FacebookHow to Clean Up After Thanksgiving in Half the Time

By: Lisa Kaplan Gordon

Published: November 1, 2012

The Pilgrims were on to something when they planned a Thanksgiving potluck; here are other good ideas that’ll simplify your T-Day kitchen cleanup.

 

Want something to be thankful for? Check out these tips that’ll make your Thanksgiving kitchen cleanup faster and easier — and will give you more time to enjoy family and friends.

Plan a potluck: The first Thanksgiving was a potluck; so let your guests share the fun and bring dishes to share. Then make sure they take home their serving bowls and platters, which will cut down on dishes to wash and put away.

Decide on disposable: Leave Mom’s good dishes in the breakfront and set your table with disposable — and recyclable — place settings. Party stores sell plastic dishware that look like real china (12 dinner plates for about $13). After eating, collect and toss. If you can’t stand to set a table with anything but your best, use disposables for hors d’oeuvres and dessert.

Triple-duty cookware: Cut down on cleanup by selecting cookware that can go from oven to table to freezer. Or, serve food in edible containers, such as bread bowls or hollowed-out winter squash, which you can either consume or compost.

Empty fridge: Start your holiday with a clean slate, which will make the inevitable mess less daunting than piling clutter onto clutter. Before beginning Thanksgiving prep, pick up depressing home clutter and clean out your fridge to make room for ingredients and leftovers.

If possible, designate a shelf for Thanksgiving food, which should be empty when you start your meal, then filled with leftovers when you’re finished. In a week, clean out that shelf again. Make soup from leftover meat and veggies, and then freeze. Compost wilted greens. Toss old dairy products.

Prepare roasting pans: You won’t have to clean what you don’t get dirty. So line your turkey roasting pans with heavy-duty aluminum foil, or cook the bird in a bag. Pour drippings into a pot to make gravy, then throw away the liner.

Line garbage cans: Double- or triple-line garbage cans, which saves time when the cleaning campaign begins. After you toss a trash bag, there’s another waiting for action.

Soaking bin: Soak pots and pans as soon as you transfer food to platters. But instead of filling the sink with soaking pots, designate a small trashcan as the soaking spot. Fill it will soapy water and dirty pots, and hide it under a sink or in a mudroom. That way, your sink is free throughout the evening to clean as you go and rinse dishes on the way to the dishwasher.

Stop stains: Don’t let stains on carpet or rings on furniture set. While wine stains are still wet, dab with go-to cleaner hydrogen peroxide mixed with a few drops of dish detergent; blot with a clean cloth. Get rid of water stains on wood furniture with a dab of white toothpaste (not gel). Rub in the direction of the grain.

Pump up the music: Up-tempo music will give you a second wind for cleaning. So turn off the soothing dinner tunes and get rocking with our cleaning playlist.

Read more: http://members.houselogic.com/articles/easy-thanksgiving/preview/#ixzz3K2L6sJCp
Follow us: @HouseLogic on Twitter | HouseLogic on FacebookHow to Clean Up After Thanksgiving in Half the Time

By: Lisa Kaplan Gordon

Published: November 1, 2012

The Pilgrims were on to something when they planned a Thanksgiving potluck; here are other good ideas that’ll simplify your T-Day kitchen cleanup.

 

Want something to be thankful for? Check out these tips that’ll make your Thanksgiving kitchen cleanup faster and easier — and will give you more time to enjoy family and friends.

Plan a potluck: The first Thanksgiving was a potluck; so let your guests share the fun and bring dishes to share. Then make sure they take home their serving bowls and platters, which will cut down on dishes to wash and put away.

Decide on disposable: Leave Mom’s good dishes in the breakfront and set your table with disposable — and recyclable — place settings. Party stores sell plastic dishware that look like real china (12 dinner plates for about $13). After eating, collect and toss. If you can’t stand to set a table with anything but your best, use disposables for hors d’oeuvres and dessert.

Triple-duty cookware: Cut down on cleanup by selecting cookware that can go from oven to table to freezer. Or, serve food in edible containers, such as bread bowls or hollowed-out winter squash, which you can either consume or compost.

Empty fridge: Start your holiday with a clean slate, which will make the inevitable mess less daunting than piling clutter onto clutter. Before beginning Thanksgiving prep, pick up depressing home clutter and clean out your fridge to make room for ingredients and leftovers.

If possible, designate a shelf for Thanksgiving food, which should be empty when you start your meal, then filled with leftovers when you’re finished. In a week, clean out that shelf again. Make soup from leftover meat and veggies, and then freeze. Compost wilted greens. Toss old dairy products.

Prepare roasting pans: You won’t have to clean what you don’t get dirty. So line your turkey roasting pans with heavy-duty aluminum foil, or cook the bird in a bag. Pour drippings into a pot to make gravy, then throw away the liner.

Line garbage cans: Double- or triple-line garbage cans, which saves time when the cleaning campaign begins. After you toss a trash bag, there’s another waiting for action.

Soaking bin: Soak pots and pans as soon as you transfer food to platters. But instead of filling the sink with soaking pots, designate a small trashcan as the soaking spot. Fill it will soapy water and dirty pots, and hide it under a sink or in a mudroom. That way, your sink is free throughout the evening to clean as you go and rinse dishes on the way to the dishwasher.

Stop stains: Don’t let stains on carpet or rings on furniture set. While wine stains are still wet, dab with go-to cleaner hydrogen peroxide mixed with a few drops of dish detergent; blot with a clean cloth. Get rid of water stains on wood furniture with a dab of white toothpaste (not gel). Rub in the direction of the grain.

Pump up the music: Up-tempo music will give you a second wind for cleaning. So turn off the soothing dinner tunes and get rocking with our cleaning playlist.

Read more: http://members.houselogic.com/articles/easy-thanksgiving/preview/#ixzz3K2L6sJCp
Follow us: @HouseLogic on Twitter | HouseLogic on Facebook

5 Holiday Hosting Disasters and How to Avoid Them :

5 Holiday Hosting Disasters and How to Avoid Them

By:

Take a look at the most common things that can go wrong when you have guests and learn how to prevent them.

 

Imagine you’re preparing to host your annual holiday party, and you’re past the point of no return. The veggies and meats have been bought. Guests are already braving busy airports and crowded highways to get to your home—and then your oven won’t turn on. Your home-cooked meal has quickly turned into a microwave dinner.

That’s just one of many hosting nightmares that can end your holiday party before it even begins. Thankfully, some of the most damaging mishaps easily can be avoided. We collected five of the most prevalent issues and give you preventative tips to keep your holiday party on track.

Problem: The oven doesn’t heat

For any holiday occasion, the oven is the most important appliance in your house. If it fails to work, the centerpiece of your meal could go from roasted beef, ham, duck, or Tofurky to Peking Duck from the local Chinese takeout joint.

How to avoid:

  • There are any number of reasons a stove can break, but one common cause of disaster is easy to prevent. Don’t self-clean your oven until AFTER the holidays. You risk blowing a fuse or a thermostat, and tracking down an oven technician around the holidays can be tough.

Problem: The kitchen sink clogs

The day after Thanksgiving is the busiest of the year for plumbers. The prime cause of this clog-a-thon is the mistreatment of drains when cooking holiday feasts. We hope your Thanksgiving went well, and that you avoid clog-a-thons for the rest of the holidays.

How to avoid:

  • Fats and cooking oils can solidify in your pipes, so never dispose of them in your kitchen sink.
  • If you have a garbage disposal, make sure it’s running before anything goes in it, and never feed it any stringy, fibrous, or starchy foods like poultry skins or potato peels.
  • To fix, don’t rely on chemical drain-clearing products that can harm your pipes. Use a snake instead, available for $15 at your local hardware store. Best to keep one on hand.

Problem: The heat goes out

As the party’s host, you’re supposed to hang guests’ coats—not apologize to them for having to keep them on. A lack of heat can stop a holiday party dead in its tracks.

How to avoid:

  • The key to avoiding freezing your party to a standstill is regular maintenance of your HVAC. Every 90 days, a new one-inch pleated furnace filter should be installed. If you haven’t done it in a while, now’s a good time to replace it.
  • Also inspect insulation on refrigerant lines that are leading into your house. Replace them if they’re missing or damaged.

Problem: The toilet stops up

Toilets have a way of clogging up at the worst times, such as during parties and when you have overnight guests. This is especially true if you have a low-flow toilet from the early 1990s.

How to avoid:

  • Don’t flush anything other than sewage and toilet paper down the toilet. And there’s nothing wrong with putting up a polite note to remind your guests to do the same.

Problem: The fridge doesn’t cool

Without a properly functioning refrigerator, your meat could get contaminated, your dairy-based treats could go sour, and you may not be able to save your yummy leftovers. To avoid discovering a warm fridge after it’s too late, take these simple precautions.

How to avoid:

  • Get a thermometer for your refrigerator to make sure each shelf stays below 40 degrees and you can be aware of any temperature changes.
  • Also make sure the condenser coils located on the back of the unit or beneath it are free to breathe. Coils blocked from circulating air by cereal boxes atop the fridge, or dirtied by dust or pet hair can prevent a fridge from keeping cool.

Read more: http://members.houselogic.com/articles/holiday-hosting-tips/preview/#ixzz3K2Iwx6qV
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For RENT! This Bright apartment,large spacious kitchen, living room and dining room, Masterbedroom with an oversized walkin closet and one bedroom. A private back yard for you to entertain your guests. It also has off street parking for 2 cars, large basement for storage and washer/dryer hookups in the basment.
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Tips on How To Prepare Your Home for Holiday Guests

By: Lisa Kaplan Gordon

Published: November 14, 2011Child sticking his finger in a pumpkin pie

Is your home ready for holiday visits from friends and family? Here’s how to prepare for the invasion.

I’m lucky and have a guest suite always ready for holiday guests. But even with a dedicated space, preparing my home for the annual onslaught of friends and family takes time and forethought.

Some preparations for holiday guests take only a few minutes; some take a lot longer. My advice: Start preparing your home for the holidays now.

Prioritize

The day before guests arrive is no time to pull apart junk drawers and clean out linen closets. Declutter guest rooms and public areas — foyer, kitchen, living room, den, and dining room. Remove anything unnecessary from countertops, coffee tables, and ottomans; if it’s out of sight, keep it out of mind, for now.

If you run short of time, bag up the clutter and store it in car trunks, basements, and out-of-the-way closets. Sort and arrange after your guests depart.

Safety

Light the way: Even though you can navigate your home blindfolded, your guests can’t. Make sure outside lights are working so they don’t trip on the way to your door. Put motion-activated night lights in hallways, bathrooms, and bedrooms to ensure safe passage after the sun sets.

Child proofing: Ask parents to bring hardware that keeps their small ones safe, such as baby gates and cabinet locks. Transfer toxic cleaners and medicines from base to wall cabinets. Hide matches and lighters.

Fire prevention: If you didn’t freshen smoke detector batteries when you switched the clocks to Daylight Savings Time, change them now. After your guests arrive, run a quick fire drill: Make sure they can locate exits and fire extinguishers, and that they know how to open windows and doors.

Entryway upgrades

Your home’s foyer is the first place guests see, so make a good first impression.

  • Upgrade exterior entry doors or give old doors a new coat of paint. Polish and tighten door hardware, and oil hinges to prevent squeaks.
  • Remove scratches from hardwood floors, stairs, and wood railings. Place a small rug or welcome mat at the entrance to protect floors from mud and snow.
  • Clear out shoes, umbrellas, and other clutter.
  • Add extra hooks to walls so guests can hang coats and hats.
  • Add a storage bench where guests can remove boots and shoes.

Kitchen prep

Your kitchen is command central during the holidays, so make sure it’s ready for guests and extra helpers.

  • To increase storage, install a pot rack to clear cooking items off countertops and ranges.
  • Move your coffee station into a family room so guests don’t crowd the kitchen when you’re trying to fix meals.
  • If you like to visit while you’re cooking, place extra stools and chairs around the perimeter of your kitchen so guests can set a spell.

Sleeping arrangements

If you’ve got a guest room, replace the ceiling fixture with a ceiling fan and light combo, which helps guests customize their room temperature without fiddling with the thermostat for the entire house.

To carve sleeping space out of public areas, buy a folding screen or rolling bookcase, which will provide privacy for sleepers. Fold or roll it away in the morning.

Bathroom storage

Bring toilet paper, towels, and toiletries out of hiding, and place them on open shelves so guests can find them easily.

If you don’t have enough wall space for shelves, place these items in open baskets around the bathroom.

Also, outfit each tub with a bath mat (to avoid falls) and each toilet with a plunger (to avoid embarrassment).

What tips do you have for getting ready for guests this holiday season?

Read more: http://members.houselogic.com/articles/tips-how-prepare-your-home-holiday-guests/preview/#ixzz3K2HrZxwu
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