Elena Langlois - CENTURY 21 Commonwealth

Posted by Elena Langlois on 2/15/2018

Appliances have a certain lifespan of use, and then, unfortunately, they tend to break down one way or another. Depending on the age of the appliance and the amount of the repair cost, you should make an informed decision as to what will be a good for your finances and your home.

So, when the fridge stops producing cold or the dryer stops drying things, you may go into panic mode and try to either buy a new appliance or call a repair person. Before you make a snap judgment, you should take a step back. Itís important to ask the question: 

Is it worth getting this repaired?

If you are able to get an estimate of how much the repairs will cost, this will give you a good place to start. This is the fastest way for you to get the answers that you need. If the life of the appliance is going to only be a few years, you may be better off investing your money in a new appliance. The cost of a repair can run somewhere around 20-30 percent of the cost of replacing the appliance completely.

Understand The Life Expectancy Of Each Appliance

Some appliances are meant to last for a decade, others will last for a shorter period of time. As a general rule of thumb, if your appliance is over 7 years old and breaks down, you should probably replace it rather than repair it. It will be a better investment in the long run. Some typical lifespans for appliances are:

  • Dishwasher 9 years
  • Freezer 13 years
  • Range 15 years
  • Dryer 13 years
  • Washing Machine 10 years

Before you replace your broken appliance, there are a few things you should understand. First, sometimes, it really isnít broken. A plug could be loose or a circuit could have tripped. You would hate to spend the money on a new appliance rather than deal with a simple problem. Troubleshoot the problem yourself by taking a peek at the ownerís manual first.              

Pricing Appliances 

Once you have repair estimates, you should find out how much it will be to replace your appliance completely with a similar model. Make sure that you factor in things like the removal of the old appliance, the taxes, and the installation. By running the numbers, youíll know if you can afford a new appliance or not compared to the repair costs. 

New Features

If you have been dreaming of a refrigerator with an ice maker, it may be a good decision for you to spring for a new model. If you love the features you have, youíll want to either price similar units or do the repairs. Really, your budget and needs very much dictate your decision for new appliances. Consider the options and make the repair or replacement call based on your needs.

Tags: appliances  
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Posted by Elena Langlois on 2/8/2018

Fireplaces can serve as a focal point in a room, provide a source of heat and add to the comfort of your home. They can also help you to save on energy costs. Thereís so many different kinds of fireplaces that you can either install or find in a home. If youíre shopping for a home, you may want a home with a built-in fireplace. You donít necessarily need one to get all of the benefits that a fireplace can provide. Thereís different types of fireplaces that are made to suit the many different needs of homeowners. Here, weíll show you some different kinds of fireplaces along with their pros and cons. 

Wood Fireplaces 

The most commonly thought of fireplace is the wood-burning fireplace. This will be built-in to your home, or you can install them in your home to use as a heat source. You may even install a wood stove in the upstairs part of your home and another in the downstairs in order to keep an even heat throughout the home. In some homes, however, just one wood stove is enough to heat the entire house! 

This type of fireplace requires maintaining from time-to-time including cleaning the chimney. Youíll also need to clean out ash from the inside of the fireplace. The material thatís being burned- wood, needs to be stored somewhere. Rain and inclement weather can cause a problem, as youíll need to dry the wood some before it can be burned effectively. Youíll need a screen to protect you and your family from the ash and embers that may be blown around form the inside of the fireplace while itís burning wood. These fireplaces are advantageous for a classic look and feel but can often be a pain to clean.   

Gas Fireplaces 

If your home is fitted with a gas fireplace, youíre lucky because these types of fireplaces are cleaner and provide a more even heat source. Gas fireplaces, true to their name, burn gas instead of wood. A vented gas fireplace will look very similar to that of a wood- burning fireplace. There is a firebox present in the chimney that allows for ventilation with these types of heating sources. You can use a variety of things to give the appearance that you are ďburningĒ them in a gas fireplace. This includes beads that will bring flames up and ceramic logs that appear just like the logs that would be present in a wood-burning fireplace. You can even easily convert a gas burning fireplace to a wood burning one. This is, if you seem miss cleaning up all of the ash that they create!   

Direct Vent Fireplaces

These fireplaces donít require a chimney. They draw in outside air and feed off a gas line thatís attached through the wall. The flame of these fireplaces is secured behind a piece of glass. The big advantage to these kinds of fireplaces is that they emit a large amount of heat and donít lose much heat in the process, since thereís no chimney to lose air through.  

Faux Fireplaces

If you choose, thereís a variety of options that you have in getting a fireplace that doesnít actually create a flame at all. These fireplaces are typically run on electricity and give the same effect of a fireplace but are much easier to install anywhere in your home. Consider these if you really would like a fireplace without the hassle!

Posted by Elena Langlois on 2/1/2018

Buying a condo requires hard work and patience, particularly for property buyers who are searching for a condo that they can enjoy for years to come. Thus, there are many questions that condo buyers need to ask before they purchase a property, including:

1. What Does the Condo Include?

Although a condo will feature home essentials like bedrooms and bathrooms, there are other factors that condo buyers need to consider as well.

For example, does a condo offer reserved parking? If not, where will you park your car day after day? And if you invite guests to visit, where can they park their vehicles? These are just some of the questions you'll want to consider about a condo before you submit an offer. Ultimately, you'll want to ensure that you are comfortable with everything that a condo has to offer. And if a condo fails to meet your expectations, keep in mind that other properties may be available that satisfy your needs.

2. How Much Are the Homeowners Association (HOA) Fees?

Condo owners usually are responsible for their monthly mortgage costs, along with HOA fees.

HOA fees are used to cover property maintenance costs throughout a condo community. The costs ensure that your neighborhood will feature fresh-cut lawns, clear walkways and other great features that help it stand out from other neighborhoods. At the same time, HOA fees must be considered before you purchase a condo, as these costs can add up quickly.

In many instances, HOA fees may add several hundred dollars to your monthly expenses. As such, you should find out exactly how much your HOA fees will be prior to buying a condo.

Consult with your real estate agent to learn more about a condo community's HOA fees. By doing so, you can budget accordingly.

3. What Are the HOA Rules?

HOA rules may vary from community to community, and you should get a copy of these rules to determine whether they correspond to your lifestyle.

For example, some condo communities feature quiet hours. On the other hand, various condo communities may have rules in place to prevent condo owners from renting out their properties.

Your real estate agent should have no trouble providing you with a copy of the HOA rules for a particular condo community. Examine these requirements closely before you make your purchase decision, and you can understand how the HOA rules will impact your day-to-day life in a condo community.

No one should be forced to settle for an inferior condo. Fortunately, employing a real estate agent with condo experience can help you speed up the process of finding a terrific condo.

With support from an experienced real estate agent, you can browse a broad array of condos in any city or town. Plus, your real estate agent can offer details about HOA fees and rules, along with provide expert tips to help you secure the perfect condo at a great price.

Collaborate with a real estate agent, and you can improve your chances of discovering your ideal condo.

Tags: Condo   condo fees  
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Posted by Elena Langlois on 1/25/2018

One of the worst mistakes you can make when looking for a new home is to allow yourself to become discouraged. Once that happens, your energy level drops, your optimism wavers, and your standards slide.

Searching for just the right house for you and your family may take longer than you expect, but success is often right around the corner! In the mean time, persistence and mental focus will help you get past the rough spots and detours. If you decide to work with a real estate buyers' agent, they will help keep you motivated, encouraged, and updated on new listings.

Although a certain amount of flexibility is necessary when you're in the market for a new home, there are advantages to having a clear picture in your mind of what you're looking for. There are a lot of factors that can play a role in your degree of happiness and comfort in a new home, and it's vital to recognize exactly what those key features and characteristics would be.

Here are a few things to mull over as you visit homes for sale and compare the pluses and minuses of each.

  • Location: In addition to seeking out a neighborhood that's convenient for shopping, commuting, and meeting your family's needs, it also pays to keep investment value in mind. While nobody can look into a crystal ball and say with absolute certainty that property values will increase in the foreseeable future, there are educated guesses and projections that can be made based on trends and available data. An experienced real estate agent can be one of your best resources in determining whether a neighborhood is growing or declining. Very often there are telltale signs that are worth paying close attention to when evaluating different homes for sale.
  • Architectural style: While many house hunters are only interested in features like square footage, lot size, and the quality of the school district, you may have preferences for specific architectural styles. Finding a house that conforms to your architectural preferences can make a big difference in your level of satisfaction. Although there are more than thirty different styles from which to choose, many people lean toward Colonial houses, Craftsman style homes, Contemporaries, Ranch houses, Tudors, Victorians (Queen Anne, for example), Cape Cods, Art Deco houses, Split Levels, and Bungalows. Other style possibilities include Dutch Colonials, Georgian-style houses, and Spanish-influenced architectures , such as the Monterey, Spanish Eclectic, and Pueblo. While some styles tend to be mostly confined to certain areas of the country, most communities have a wide array of architectural styles available to home buyers.
  • Condition of the Home: Some of a house's flaws are easy to spot, while others may require the expertise of a certified house inspector. The extent to which you're willing to make repairs, updates, and renovations to a new home will be one key factor that will determine which house is best for your needs, goals, and budget.
There are literally dozens of features, characteristics, and quality standards to keep in mind when shopping for a new home, but location, structural condition, and style are three factors that are well worth including on your priority list.

Posted by Elena Langlois on 1/18/2018

Even though most people would consider family safety to be a top priority, few have gone to the trouble of actually printing out or creating a home safety checklist. It's really not that much trouble, though, because the information you need is readily available on the Internet, at your local library, and through your insurance agent. With so many different aspects of home safety to be aware of, a detailed, categorized list can help you focus your attention on what needs to be checked, cleaned, replaced, fixed, or upgraded. A Word About Landlines vs Cell Phones The widespread use of cellphones has caused an increasing number of home owners to cancel their landline telephone service. While this may seem like a smart way to save money and reduce telemarketing calls, it also raises some safety issues. In an emergency, for example, the last thing you want to be doing is frantically searching for a misplaced cellphone. Another issue to think about is the fact that mobile phones often need to be recharged on a daily basis -- sometimes at the most inopportune times. Although cellphones are an indispensable part of most people's lives, they're far from infallible. For this reason, maintaining your landline is an idea worth considering. Telephone companies may offer a budget-friendly service plan that could provide you with an emergency backup, in case your cell phones failed or couldn't be found. Organizing Your Safety Checklist There are a lot of different categories of home safety to keep in mind, so printing out a comprehensive list is an invaluable first step. Customizing the list to the needs of your household would logically come next. For example, a home with young children or elderly relatives will need age-specific safeguards to avoid accidents, injuries, and trips to the Emergency Room. Everyone's home safety checklist will vary, depending on the age of their home and its occupants. Here's a short list of some of the important items you'll want to include or seriously consider.

  • Install smoke detectors in strategic locations, and test the batteries several times a year (if not monthly). Your kitchen and bedroom areas are among the key spots in which smoke detectors need to be placed.
  • Carbon monoxide detectors are also a vital part of any home safety plan.
  • A working fire extinguisher should be available in the kitchen, as well as any other room in your home where a potential fire hazard exists. It's also a good idea to take a couple minutes to read the instructions and give members of the family a crash course on correct fire extinguisher operation.
  • Reduce the chance of chimney fires by having your fireplace and chimney professionally cleaned every couple of years. The frequency depends on several factors, including how often you use your fireplace and what type of wood you burn.
  • Miscellaneous home safety reminders: Other aspects of your plan may include burglar proofing your home, identifying and correcting potential electrical hazards, and reducing risks related to tripping, falling, and slipping.
Doing a home safety assessment is comparable to a New Year's resolution. You go into it with the best of intentions, but you don't always follow through. When it comes to keeping your home environment safe and secure for your family, however, it's never too soon to get started.