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Posted by Joyce Torelli on 2/21/2018

If your budget allows for it, hiring a good housekeeper is well worth the money. If you're like most professional couples, you probably already feel "maxed out" after you've put in 40 to 60 hours at your jobs . When you add parenting responsibilities into the mix, there's not too much time and energy left for cleaning the house! While certain basic house cleaning tasks are unavoidable on a daily basis, it's a relief to know that a paid house cleaner will be coming in to do a thorough job soon.

Finding a reliable housekeeper with whom you feel comfortable can be a bit of a challenge, but if you can get referrals from family, friends, and others you know, then your search should put you on the right track.

The Selection Process

Since the main reason you're hiring a cleaning person is to make your life easier, the last thing you want to deal with is dependability problems or substandard work. That's why it's important to get referrals from people you know and trust. It often pays to interview more than one prospective cleaning person because you want to find someone who is the best match for your budget and needs. When you have two or three prospects to choose from, you'll be in a better position to choose the one with the best attitude, top references, and the most agreeable personality.

Unless a cleaning person was referred to you by someone you know well, it's a good idea to request references and contact a couple of them before making any final decisions. Calling at least two of their current customers (or past bosses) should give you some helpful insights into their work habits, punctuality, and willingness to follow directions.

Although most customers will probably try to be complimentary, if you ask the right questions and look for "red flags" in their answers, you'll be surprised at what you can learn. While it may be too blunt to ask if their cleaning person is honest, a lot can be inferred from their responses to other questions. For example, if a housekeeper has been working for the same customer for several years and cleans their house while the costumer is at their office or other place of employment, then there's a good chance the cleaner does excellent (or at least satisfactory) work and can be trusted. One direct question that generally needs to be asked when talking with references is "Would you personally recommend this person?" Asking how their housekeeper responds to special requests, suggestions, or constructive criticism may also provide revealing answers.

When getting a quote from a cleaning person or house cleaning service, it's useful to get an itemized list of what chores or services would be covered in the price. There are two advantages to this. First of all, you'll be able to compare "apples to apples". Secondly, you'll be able to gauge your expectations to what was initially promised and agreed to. While there may be other issues to consider, like possible background checks and insurance coverages they carry, once you've found a house cleaner you like and trust, you've cleared the biggest hurdle in your search!





Posted by Joyce Torelli on 2/14/2018

If youíre buying a fixer upper, whether you plan to live on the property or flip it, there are plenty of things that youíll need to consider. So you can budget appropriately, below, many of the costs and fees are laid to so that you can see what youíll need to budget for when rehabilitating a home.



The Overall Costs


The costs that youíll incur in buying and finishing a home that needs to be rehabilitated are as follows:


  • The team needed for rehabilitation
  • The purchase price of the property
  • The cost of owning the property
  • The cost of selling the property (if you plan on flipping the home)


The Team


The people that you put together to rehab your home will be very important to the entire rehabilitation process. You should take the time to research each person that youíre hiring to be sure that they are a good fit for the job.


Professionals who will be involved in the process include:


  • Lender
  • Attorney
  • Realtor
  • Contractor 
  • Insurance agent
  • Home inspector


You can ask your realtor or other trusted contacts for recommendations. Putting a team in place helps to make the entire, sometimes cumbersome process of house rehabilitation a bit smoother. 


Buying The Property


These costs are pretty standard as if you were buying any other home. Youíll need to pay closing costs, attorneys fees, realtor fees, and more. Costs typically included in a home purchase are:


  • Inspection
  • Purchase price
  • Closing costs
  • Appraisal


You should budget for all of these typical home buying costs when buying a rehab home. 


The Costs Of Home Rehabilitation


This is where things get expensive. Youíll need to first pay a contractor just to consult with them to see how they will create your vision for the property. You could also take another route an consult with a home inspector who has experience in construction. They can give you an idea of what the construction expense will be and what needs to be addressed. 


When you do get to meet with contractors, youíll want to understand their construction experience and feel comfortable that they can produce the work that you need at a high level of quality.  


Owning A Home


Once you have the home in need of rehabilitation in your possession, youíll need to pay the typical costs of any homeowner. These include:


  • Mortgage payments
  • Taxes
  • Insurance
  • Utilities
  • Maintenance


Even if youíre not currently occupying the home, once the property is purchased, all of these costs will need to be covered and considered. 


If you decide to flip the property and sell it, youíll need to consider additional costs including realtorís fees and other closing costs.  





Posted by Joyce Torelli on 2/7/2018

Stressed out and wishing you had room in the budget for a trip to Hawaii? Take a vacation whenever you want from the comfort of your home by creating a home sanctuary. When you have a peaceful refuge just a few footsteps down the hall you can easily take 15 minutes to yourself to relax and take the edge off whenever you like.

Start by selecting your space. You can turn a spare room or unused corner of the home into your sanctuary. When choosing a place take the foot traffic and lighting of the area into consideration. For example, you may find it distracting of your new sanctuary is across from the bathroom your family uses frequently or if there is a harsh glare at sunrise or sunset.

Decide on how youíll spend time in this area. While you may hear sanctuary and immediately assume itís a space for meditation or prayer this can be a quiet place for you to do any activity you find soothing. This may be reading, painting, writing or even putting a puzzle together. Once you know how you would like to utilize the room you can add furniture that will easily allow you to immerse yourself in an activity. Consider soft lighting, a desk, rug,  large chair, and any tools necessary for your chosen activity. This could mean adding anything from a meditation pillow to an easel.

Handy hint: keep what you do add to the room intentional and functional. To maintain a calming environment that is easy to relax in avoid clutter from finding itís way into this room and taking over. Add plants to bring a touch of peaceful nature to the room and purify the air. Choose soft, neutral colors to decorate with. If you are using a corner of a room for your sanctuary you can section the area off for privacy with a room divider or bookshelf.

If you donít have space in your home for a dedicated sanctuary you can easily turn any space into a peaceful area by turning on some relaxing music and lighting some candles whose smells you find soothing. If youíre open to redecorating you can take the above tips and apply them to your living room or family den. You can even get your whole family to join in by limiting tv time and scheduling a ďcalm hourĒ for everyone to take a break and just chill.

Donít wait all year for a two-week vacation to relax. Bring the elements that soothe your soul to your everyday routine into your home whether with a hobby like building a puzzle or setting dedicated quiet time for the whole family. When you make it simple to take a timeout from the day itís harder to put off taking the time to relax. Your health will thank you!




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Joyce Torelli on 1/31/2018

Your attic; itís a great place for storing things that you need to keep out of the way for most of the year. Maybe a little too great. If your attic is anything like most peopleís it quickly has become overridden with anything and everything you canít quite let go of or donít know where to put. Perhaps itís overwhelming to even think about your attic. If you are ready to make your attic more organized or need an idea of where to start, keep reading. If you are planning a major overhaul on your disorganized attic consider breaking up the following tips over a longer span of time than just the weekend to avoid being overwhelmed. The process of sorting through the items that find their way to the attic can be mentally draining as well as physically. Start with a decluttering process. Create a blank slate by pulling everything out of the attic and get rid of everything you no longer want to hold onto. Holding a yard sale or donating items are both ways of giving things you no longer want a chance at a second life and keeping them out of the dump. This is also a great time to figure out what should stay in the attic and what can be moved to other places in the home. Some types of household goods are best not stored in an attic. Once you have settled on what will be staying create an inventory of what is left and create categories for the items you will be storing in your attic. Themes should become apparent such as Christmas ornaments and nostalgic items. Group these similar items together so the next steps will be easier. Now that you know what items are staying and what categories you have you can start thinking about storage arrangements. If you have been keeping everything in cardboard boxes or just strewn about consider investing in some plastic bins for safer storage. Plastic bins can help protect against any roof leaks or other unexpected damage. If you have enough vertical space installing shelving units will help maximize the space available in your attic and allow you to easily organize everything. Be sure to properly store things (Christmas ornaments are wrapped, documents are in file folders, etc.) and label each box accordingly. Designing a layout plan for where containers are placed in your attic will set you up for success in the future. Place lower priority items towards the back of your attic space and/or in harder to reach areas while placing more frequently used items in easy to reach areas. Extra steps for the dedicated: Create an inventory of what is in each box and number them, add this list to a home organization binder or somewhere handy to reference. This will allow you to know what is where in your attic and eliminate opening every box each time you want to find something. Color coding bins by their category and/or numbering them will allow for easy inventory creation and knowing which bins contain holiday decorations or seasonal clothes. While the thought of organizing your attic might fill you with dread taking the time to do so will allow you to create a storage space in your home that is stress-free and easy to access. With a clear plan in hand and spreading out your organization project over several days planning out your attic storage might even become an enjoyable task!




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Joyce Torelli on 1/24/2018

Let's face it: you probably have picture frames or decorations hiding some small holes in your drywall. Most people hold off on filling small holes until it's time to repaint the wall. Even then, some people assume you can just paint right over the holes to cover them up. There's a much better way to ensure you have smooth and uniform walls, however. Read on to learn how.

Repairing small holes

If the areas you are attempting to repair are mainly small holes from picture frames made by hooks and nails, there's a relatively easy way to make your wall look like new again.
  1. First, you're going to want to pull out any debris from the whole, including loose or chipped pieces of drywall. This is an important step that many people omit. If you put your spackle or paste†in a hole that has loose drywall in it, it could just fall out when it drys.
  2. Next, fill up the whole with spackle†and smooth it with a putty knife or any flat surface available to you. Read the directions on the paste to determine how long it will take to dry.
  3. Once dry, sand down the area using a fine-grit sandpaper (at least 120 grit). Rub your hand over the area to see if there are any bumps. Be careful not to sand too hard if your wall is textured at all. Once the spackle is smooth and flush with the wall, you can move onto the next step: repainting.

Repainting your wall

It's good practice to save leftover paint and color samples for the walls of your house. If you've done this, your work here will be a lot easier. When you repaint the area you've sealed and sanded you'll want to paint over the edges slightly to blend it with the paint already on your wall. This will, hopefully, make it so the repaired area doesn't stand out. Remember not to panic when the paint appears darker and more vibrant where the repair is. Once it dries it will more closely resemble the paint on the wall. It may be necessary to put a second coat onto the area, so don't put your paint away just yet. In the meantime, this is a great opportunity to check the walls in the room for any other areas that need to be touched up.

It doesn't look quite the same

If you find yourself staring at the one-inch area of your wall that looks slightly different than the rest, you have two options.
  1. Back away, go do something else for a while and then come back later. Was it obvious to you where the spot was after taking a break? Sometimes artists get too close to their work and focused on details that are only apparent to them. Remember that no one is likely to notice but you.
  2. If it's driving you nuts, you could always use this opportunity to repaint the entire wall. Many rooms now have an "accent" wall, meaning one wall painted differently than the other three. This is a great way to add a hint of color to a room. Find a color that will nicely accent the walls and head to the paint store.