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Winter Hacks

by Fontaine Family

Here Comes The Snow


Okay...so here comes MORE snow is more accurate.
With several storms in the past week and a half, everyone is looking for ways to make dealing with the snow, ice, and cold weather easier.
Here are a few "Winter Hacks" to try out during the storm today and tomorrow. 

1.  Melt Ice Off Your Car
If you spray your car windshield with a mixture of 2/3 vinegar and 1/3 water, it should melt the ice making it easier for you to clear it off.  Anything that makes removing ice is worth a try!

2.  Make Shoveling Easier
Spraying your snow shovel with cooking spray should help the snow slide off instead of sticking to your shovel.

3.  Remove Salt Stains From Your Shoes
If you happen to be caught out without your "Bean Boots", you know all about salt stains on your shoes.  Mix 1 tablespoon of vinegar to 1 cup of water, dip a cloth in it, and wipe your shoes to remove those ugly stains. 

Click here to check out more ideas to make your winter easier on "Winter Ready" board on Pinterest.


Fall Home Maintenance Tips

by Fontaine Family

Home Maintenance Tips for Fall


The kids are back in school, the air is getting cooler, and the leaves are turning beautiful colors...fall is here!


It is a beautiful time of year in Maine with so much to see and do! 
While you are out apple-picking and checking out the fall festivals, don't forget to take care of some home maintenance items to prepare for the long winter months approaching. 

1. Have your heating system cleaned and inspected...don't forget the chimney.

2. Check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to make sure they are working properly.

3. Clean your dryer vent to prevent lint buildup.

4. Check seal around windows and doors and caulk if needed.


5. Clean the leaves and debris from your gutters.

6. Put away any hoses and turn off outdoor water.

7. Winterize and put away your mower and summer lawn equipment.

8. Have your snow blower and other snow removal equipment readied.

Now that your home is taken care of and ready for the cooler days and nights...get out and enjoy all that Maine offers this time of year!

Happy Fall!

 

 

Knock Years Off Your Mortgage

by Fontaine Family
Easily Knock Years Off Your Mortgage...
 and save thousands in interest?

You can reduced the principal of your loan
which will knock payments off the end of your mortgage
by making one extra payment each year. 

You don't even have to pay it all at once. 
You can divide your monthly mortgage payment by 12
and apply that amount to your regular payment each month. 

 

photo by Images_of_Money
If your monthly mortgage payment is $700...

  700 ÷ 12 = 58.33

Add an extra $58.33 to your regular $700 payment.  Pay $758.33 each month instead of $700 to add up to one extra payment for the year! Once you get used to it, you won't even notice, but the amount if interest saved over the life of the loan is substantial! 

You can also opt to make one extra payment as a lump sum...
maybe when you get your tax refund.  Any extra money you can send will make a difference, so if you can't make a whole extra payment, figure out what you can afford...anything helps!

Make sure you specify the extra money you send is applied toward your principal and be sure to check with your mortgage holder
to make sure you don't have any pre-payment penalty. 

Keep your Home Safe While on Vacation

by Fontaine Family
Are you planning a vacation this summer? 

You have probably been dreaming about the location, searching for hotels and flights and making plans for all the things you want to see and do....but have you given any thought to keeping your home safe while you are gone?

Your home is one of the biggest purchases of your life, so you definitely want to put some thought into how you are going to keep it safe while you are away. 

Here are a few suggestions to get you started!

1.  Lights - leave a couple of lights on inside your home, or better yet, put a few lights on a timer so they turn on and off giving the illusion that someone home.  On the exterior, make sure the entry to your house is well lit, or consider installing motion lights.  

2.  Mail & Newspapers - a pile of newspapers on the front lawn or in the box is a sure sign that homeowners are away.  Make plans with a neighbor to pick up your mail and newspapers while you are gone, or call the post office and newspaper to make arrangements to have delivery halted while you are away.

3.  Car in the Driveway - leaving a car in the driveway or asking a neighbor to park in your driveway while you are gone, give the illusion that someone is home.

4.  Lock it Up - Make sure all the doors and windows to your home are locked.  Make sure you check that basement door or 2nd floor window that rarely get used. 

5.  Spare Key - make sure you remove any hidden key you may have outside of your home.  You may think it is well hidden, but why take the chance that someone will find it.

6.  Lawn - One of the great things about vacation is that you don't have to mow the lawn...but tall grass is a sure sign that nobody is home.  Make arrangements to have someone take care of the lawn while you are away.

7.  Social Media - You may want to avoid making comments about your vacation or uploading vacation photos to your Facebook account or other social media until you are home.  Advertising that you are away for a week is an open invitation to burglars. 

8.  Police Drive by - some local police departments will drive by and check on homes while the owner is away.  You may want to consider contacting your local police department to see if they provide this service in your community.  If not, consider having a trusted neighbor check on the house.

The more you can make your home look like someone is still coming and going, the safer it should be!  Plan ahead to protect your home and then relax and enjoy your vacation!

Are you ready to find your dream home? 
Call us today at (207)784-3800 in Auburn or (207)289-3830 in Scarborough.

June Is Homeownership Month

by Fontaine Family

Are your ready to become a homeowner? 
Give us a call and let's get started! 

Auburn:  (207)784-3800  
Scarborough:  (207)289-3830

 

 

Do Your Walls Need Repair?

by Fontaine Family


Repair Walls to Give Rooms a Fresh Face

Article From HouseLogic.com
 

By: Jane Hoback
Published: January 14, 2011


Sooner or later you'll repair walls that make rooms look worn out. Erasing dings, dents, and scuffs is an easy fix. We'll show you how.

Repair walls filled with dents, dings, and scuffs, and you'll make rooms look young and fresh and maintain the value of your home. Fortunately, repairing walls is a good weekend warrior project. Here's how to fix your home's face in a hurry.

 

 Patch Drywall to Smooth Walls

 A putty knife, spackle, or joint compound can repair wall damage that ages a room.

  • Dents and dings:  A quart of spackle ($11) and a putty knife can fill dozens of small wall indentations. Spackle adheres to painted walls better than joint compound, though it takes a bit longer to dry. Cut wall repair time by thoroughly wiping away excess spackle.
  • Fist-sized holes: Joint compound is your best bet when covering the mesh or drywall patches that cover big holes. You'll need at least two thin coats of compound and fine grit sandpaper to blend repairs into the rest of the wall.
  • Nail pops: Nail pops travel in packs: Rarely do you see just one. To repair walls pocked with pops, hammer the popped nail back into the wall or pull it out with a needle-nose pliers; refasten the drywall to the nearest stud with a couple of screws, then fill dents with two or three coats of joint compound. Sand until smooth and flush with the rest of the wall, then repaint.

 

 Remove Marks for a Clean Start

 Microfiber cloths are little miracles that erase the evidence of a childhood well spent, drawing on and caroming off walls. To get rid of scuff marks and fingerprints:

          •Spray an all-purpose cleaner onto the cloth (never directly onto walls to avoid drips) and swipe the scuff. (Test a hidden spot to make sure the cleaner doesn't take off paint with the mark.)

          •Pour a little dish soap onto a damp cloth and wipe the mark.

          •Dip a sponge into an earth-friendly and slightly abrasive paste of dish soap, baking soda, and water, and gently scrub grime.

          •To repair walls decorated with crayon marks, dab toothpaste onto a towel or toothbrush and scrub marks.

          •Use a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser ($3), the best instant wall cleaner around. Wet and wring the eraser before attacking scuffs.

Touch Up What You Can't Wipe Out

Prepare for inevitable touch-ups by keeping leftover paint or at least recording the paint number and/or formula (paint names change). Don't have the original? Scrape off a little and ask your paint store to match it.

For touch-ups, use the same type of brush or roller the original painter used. Feather the paint from the outside borders in.

If touch-ups stand out, paint the entire wall, making sure to paint corner to corner and avoid splatters onto the ceiling and adjacent walls.

Spring Home Maintenance Checklist

by Fontaine Family

There snow is gone (mostly)...
and spring has arrived in Maine! 

It's time for spring cleaning and spring maintenance on your home.  Your home is one of the biggest purchase you will ever make, so it's a good idea to take care of it with a little preventative maintenance. 

Check out our Homeowner's Spring Maintenance Checklist and get your home spring ready! 

Build Wealth Through Homeownership

by Fontaine Family

Homeownership Builds Wealth and Offers Stability


The most recent Housing Pulse Survey released by the National Association of Realtors revealed that the two major reasons Americans prefer owning their own home instead of renting are:

  1. They want the opportunity to build equity.
  2. They want a stable and safe environment.

Building Equity

In a recent article, John Taylor, CEO of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, explained that those who lack the opportunity to become homeowners have a weakened ability to reinvest their wealth:

“We traditionally have been huge supporters of homeownership. We see it as a way to provide stability for households but also as an asset-building strategy. If you continue to be a renter, locked out of the homeownership arena, increasingly those things are further and further out of reach. They’re joined at the hip. They perpetuate each other.”

Family Stability

Does owning your home really create a more stable environment for your family?

A survey of property managers conducted by rent.com last month disclosed two reasons tenants should feel less stable with their housing situation:

  • 68% of property managers predict that rental rates will continue to rise in the next year by an average of 8%.
  • 53% of property managers said that they were more likely to bring in a new tenant at a higher rate than negotiate and renew a lease with a current tenant they already know.

We can see from these survey results that renting will provide anything but a stable environment in the near future.

Bottom Line

Homeowners enjoy a more stable environment and at the same time are  given the opportunity to build their family’s net worth.

Are you ready for the opportunity to build wealth and stablity through homeownership? 
Give us a call today to get started!

Auburn (207)784-3800  
Scarborough (207)289-3830

Who's Thinking About Heating Season?

by Fontaine Family

 Why bother with it now?


Heating oil is usually less expensive in the summer months so now is a great time to fill up the tanks and save some money. 
When the cold weather sets in and demand for heating oil rises, so do the prices. 
Check Maine heating oil prices here.

When heating season starts, the companies who clean and service heating systems also get busy. 
If you wait until November to call, chances are you will be waiting for quite some time, or may even have to pay a fee for emergency service. 
If you call to schedule your service and cleaning for your heating system now, you will be ready for heating season without having to worry if your system is functional and safe. 

Avoid the Ant Invasion

by Fontaine Family

Ants are not Welcome


Summer has arrived in Maine,
bringing with it warmer weather, festivals, vacations, and visitors. 

Sometimes those visitors include some unwelcome guests...like the ants who invite themselves to invade our homes for their summer vacation. 
Not only are ants dirty, but some ants can cause some serious damage to your home. 

Don't worry, there are some ways to avoid having these unwanted guests make themselves at home.

1.  Keep your home dry
      Ants like moist and damaged wood so keeping things dry will make your home less desirable to the little visitors. 

2.  Replace any damaged wood
      This is the stuff they love to chew on.

3.  Keep the crumbs cleaned up
     Ants love crumbs, especially sweet stuff.

4.  Don't store firewood inside
     You could be bring the ants in with the wood. 

5. Use preventative measures
      Borax, cinnamon, & cornmeal are just a few things you can use to deter the little pests.

Ant Killer Recipe

Items Needed: 

  • 1/2 Cup Sugar 
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoon Borax 
  • 1 1/2 Cups Warm Water 
  • Cotton Balls 
  • Shallow Containers

Directions: 

Mix together the Sugar and Borax.  Add the sugar mixture to the warm water and stir until dissolved.  Soak cotton balls in mixture.  Place soaked cotton balls in shallow containers where you have seen ants. 

Borax can be dangerous to people and pets, so please don't use around children or pets. 

Check out our "Ants Are Not Welcome" board on Pinterest for more ways to deter ants including pet friendly options and send the unwanted visitors packing! 


Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 15

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Fontaine Family - The Real Estate Leader
336 Center St. Auburn, ME 04210
432 US Route 1 Scarborough ME 04074
(207)784-3800 Auburn
(207)289-3830 Scarborough
Fax: (207)786-2957

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