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The DC and Baltimore Real Estate Markets have been busy this fall! Recent reports from RBI include the following:
- Price gains in all jurisdictions; highest October-level regional median sales price in nine years.
- Closed sales report stronger than average month-over-month growth.
- 13th consecutive month of year-over-year inventory gains; region remains a seller’s market.
- New contract activity hits highest October-level in nine years.
- Double-digit growth in closed sales; highest October-level in eight years.
- Non-distressed sales prices up 4.3%.
- Fifth straight month of year-over-year gains in new contracts; highest October-level since 2005
From tackling holiday stains to cleaning the crevices most commonly inspected by mothers-in-law, keeping a clean home around the holidays can seem like an impossible task. Between entertaining unexpected guests and hosting get-togethers with friends and family, having a clean home is never more important than it is around the holidays.
“The holidays are a fun, but often stressful time of year. People are busy shopping, cooking and volunteering, and have little time to keep a clean and tidy home,” says Debra Johnson, home cleaning expert for Merry Maids. “The good news is that there are simple tips and strategies to getting a home in tip-top shape — from being selective with holiday décor to having a laundry closet packed with your trusty cleaning solutions — making cleaning easier and far less stressful.”
Johnson’s secrets for a spic and span home include:
Double-duty holiday décor – Holiday décor is essential to giving spaces a more festive appearance, but it can also double the amount of housework you have each day. Give your holiday décor a second life – fill a vase or hurricane with sparkly tinsel leftovers that may have fallen to the floor and use it as a festive holiday centerpiece. Coal can serve as a great odor absorber, too.
Holiday stain fighters –While red wine, cranberry sauce and turkey gravy are real crowd-pleasers, they aren’t so kind to upholstery and carpets. If you notice that one of your guests left the evidence behind, blot it right away with a white cloth until all of the liquid has been absorbed. If the stain’s dry, whip up a quick solution of dishwashing liquid (1 tbsp), white vinegar (1 tbsp) and warm water (2 cups) to remove the stain.
Last-minute cleaning tricks – If your home needs tidying before guests arrive, set aside 15 minutes to make your home appear like you’ve spent a full day cleaning it.
- Grab a microfiber cloth and broom and set your kitchen timer.
- Sweep up the porch, fold the throws in the living room and fluff your throw pillows.
- Put a fresh stock of toilet paper in the bathroom, put away your toothbrushes and leave a festive box of tissues behind.
- Throw the dishes in the dishwasher and turn it on — by the time dinner is ready, you’ll have clean (and warm) dishes that are perfect for serving.
Source: Merry Maids
According to the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Energy Saver Guide, the typical U.S. family spends at least $2,200 per year on home utility bills, and heating and cooling accounts for the biggest portion – approximately 48 percent. The DOE says that those bills could be reduced by up to 25 percent by taking steps to efficiently manage those systems. Make these minor repairs for major savings this winter:
Cover drafty windows. Use a heavy-duty, clear plastic sheet on a frame or tape clear plastic film to the inside of window frames during the cold winter months. Make sure the plastic is sealed tightly to the frame to help reduce infiltration.
Adjust the temperature. When families are home and awake, set the thermostat as low as is comfortable. When asleep or out of the house, turn the thermostat back 10 to 15 degrees for eight hours and save around 10 percent a year on heating and cooling bills.
Find and seal leaks. Seal the air leaks around utility cut-throughs for pipes (“plumbing penetrations”), gaps around chimneys and recessed lights in insulated ceilings, and unfinished spaces behind cupboards and closets. Add caulk or weather stripping to seal air leaks around leaky doors and windows.
Maintain heating systems. Schedule a service for the heating system. Find out what maintenance is required to keep the heating system operating efficiently. Replace the furnace filter once a month, or as needed.
Reduce heat loss from the fireplace. Keep the fireplace damper closed unless a fire is burning. Keeping the damper open is like keeping a window wide open during the winter; it allows warm air to go right up the chimney.
Depending on time of day, open or close window treatments. Windows can account for 10-25 percent of a heating bill by letting heat out. Opening draperies and shades on south-facing windows during the day allows sunlight to enter the home and keep rooms warm. Conversely, closing window treatments at night reduces the chill.