Julie Sagan GRI - Sagan REALTORS ®, Swampscott, MA Real Estate, Marblehead, MA Real Estate

Call it a Wash: 5 Household Items You May Be Forgetting to Clean

We all wish that Mary Poppins would come to our house, snap her fingers, sing a little song and our house would clean itself. But even if we are rather diligent in keeping our home clean, there may be a few items we’re forgetting about. 

"Keep you & your family healthy!"

Wake up and clean the coffee maker. You may be thinking that your coffee maker basically just heats up water so how could it be dirty? You should always remove the carafe and wash it up with dish detergent, but be sure to run your brewer’s cleaning program often if it has one. Heated water can create a breeding ground for mold and bacteria. And no one wants that in their morning cup!

So you’ve had your morning coffee, and you shuffle to the bathroom and reach for your toothbrush holder. A toothbrush

cleans your teeth…so how dirty could its holder be? You’d be surprised. Your toothbrush can house bacteria, from brushing but also from your hands on the handle. Especially if it isn’t dried completely before being put away, your holder could trap moisture and breed bacteria. Be sure to wash it out often and dry it completely before replacing your toothbrush. And while you’re at it, it’s a good idea to replace your toothbrush often.

Frequently used items like the remote control can easily become home to crumbs, dust, and germs. Give those a wipe now and again to prevent buildup and spread of germs from user to user.

Your dishwasher fills up with soapy liquid and swishes it around so it has to be clean…right? Wrong. Even though your dishwasher’s main job is to clean, it has the same problem as other water-using appliances in your kitchen. Food from dirty dishes can easily get trapped and the moist environment can cause bacteria to grow and mold. Run a cleaning cycle on your machine often and be sure to remove any bits of food that may get left behind.

Your mop is a huge culprit for bacteria build up. Be sure to rinse, sanitize, and wash your mop after each use. Cleaning your floors with a dirty mop won’t do any good! Ring out your mop as much as possible so it isn’t left soaking and molding until the next time.

Cleaning a home is a full-time job. Our best defense in keeping our families clean and healthy is to regularly maintain our household items so no bacteria has a chance to stay! 

Smart Home, Smart Move: Advantages of Smart Home Technology

Finding the right home isn’t just about finding the right price, or the right street, or the right amount of bedrooms. Finding the right home is about feeling safe, feeling comfortable, and feeling confident that we have control over our homes whether we are there or not. Advances in technology are astounding, and so are their numerous benefits. Here we will explore some of the advantages of installing smart home technology.

The convenience factor here is huge. The ability to control just about your entire house from one app and one device saves loads of time and frustration. We all remember the days of having 8 different remotes for one television, trying to remember which switch controls which light, and asking ourselves a million times if we remembered to lock the door when we left for work. 

Smart home technology allows you to control things like your thermostat, locks, security cameras, alarms, appliances, etc. Protecting our homes and families is the number one concern for us all. With this new technology, you can keep an eye on your loved ones when you aren’t home. You can see who is at your door, even if you’re not inside. Close shades, turn off lights and lock doors with the click of a button. You can be alerted to when alarms or motion-sensing cameras are triggered. The possibilities are endless with the number of devices available for install, even detecting leaks or smoke before the damage is done.

We’ve also been highlighting lately, ways to keep your energy costs down. With an automated thermostat or automated lights, you can be sure that no electricity is being wasted. Program your thermostat to your schedule, so your home is always at the optimal temperature. Never forget to leave a light on again, when you have automated lights that turn off when no one is in the room. With smart technology, saving money and going green has never been easier.

Not to mention, smart technology streamlines the aesthetic of your home, making the lines of each room cleaner, and sleeker. If you’re looking to sell again in the years to come, smart technology can help boost your resale value when buyers are looking for convenience and safety.

Technology isn’t going to stop. When we can use it to our advantage to feel safe, secure, and comfortable in our environment, it’s worth the investment. Either way, finding the perfect fit for your family isn’t an easy task to go at alone. I’m here to help you figure out what your most important needs and wants are for you and your family, and find a home to fit them!



Home Inspection How-To: Choosing The Right Home Inspector

Buying a home is a big decision that you want to feel confident about. With a solid home inspection you can count on, you can feel good about sealing the deal. How do you know which company to go for? Here are a few tips for your home inspector inspection. 

Trust customer reviews, and do your research. Many home inspection companies are reviewed online and customer opinions can be easily accessed that aren’t controlled by the company. Don’t be afraid to ask for references from your potential inspection company, and certainly don’t be afraid to follow through! Ask questions about how long and how thorough the inspection was.

Before choosing a company, find out if your home’s age or location requires specific skills, licenses, or certifications. Your home may be in an area that is susceptible to specific issues you’ll want your inspector versed in.

Review your inspector’s qualifications. Find out how long they’ve been in business and how many inspections they have conducted. If they are a member of a group they are most likely required to take extra courses and obtain extra certifications. 

Ask to tag along with your inspector and don’t be afraid to ask questions or for explanations. Ask them for a sample report so you can see for yourself how thorough they have been in past inspections and so you can familiarize yourself with potential problems and the inspection process.

Your home is important, and a proper inspection can protect you and your family from present or future harm. Home inspection is key to finding your dream home and keeping it that way. Ask me for help in choosing your home inspector, and together we’ll find a safe and happy home for your family. 

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood: 

What To Look For When Choosing Yours

Choosing the perfect home for you and your family is important and there are a lot of different factors about the house itself that influence your decision. But one of the most important factors actually lies outside your home… your neighborhood. Here are some make or break elements for picking the perfect neighborhood.

Talk to your neighbors. People love to talk, and they love to share their opinions. Don’t be afraid to knock on your potential new neighbors’ doors and ask them what they think of the neighborhood. What is it lacking? What is their favorite part? They’ll all have at least one thing to share that can help you make your decision. 

Take a walk. Get a feel for the neighborhood yourself. Talking to your neighbors will help you get a read on whether there is a real sense of community and trust between the residents of the neighborhood. When you walk around, do you feel safe? Could you picture yourself living here, and bringing the kids for a walk with you?

Where there’s a park, they will play. Having a well maintained, well-populated park in the neighborhood speaks well of the overall safety of the neighborhood, and the pride the residents and town take in its community. If the local parks are empty or aren’t well kept, this may be a sign to keep walking. 

Educate yourself. Ask the neighbors, and research yourself, what the schools are like in your town and the surrounding towns. The better the school, the better impact it will have on the value of your home, especially if you plan to sell in the future. Is there a library nearby where the kids can spend extra time reading? If there is a library, you can most likely find out what types of events they hold for residents and local communities.

Be curious about community activities: Take interest in local events like farmers’ markets to see how involved the community is with one another. Many

towns host community-building activities where you can get to know your neighbors and work together to keep making the neighborhood better.

Commute Conscious: How far, and how easy is it to get to work every day? Is there a grocery store nearby? Small inconveniences add up when they happen every day or every week. When there are many retail shops, coffee shops, local restaurants, and amenities nearby like gyms, community pools, and emergency rooms, life will be easier for you and your family.

Grow big and grow homes: The presence of new communities and homes being built nearby, and more well-kept retail/grocery stores going up is a sign that your neighborhood is a growing one. This is a good thing for future selling, but also keep an eye on the local flora and fauna. Mature trees and abundant nature provide the area with clean air, much-needed shade in the New England summers, and show that the community values what they have organically. 

When you’re choosing a new neighborhood, take the time to visit at different times of the day. Whether on your feet or in the car, you can get a good sense of whether it’s a good fit for you pretty quickly. For more information and tips, I’m always here to lend a helping hand. Let me be your friendly neighborhood real estate agent.


Open House 101: Rules to Follow & Questions to Ask

It might seem simple. Walk through the door, take a peek around, and ask a few questions. But an open house is much more than that. It’s an opportunity. It’s an interview between you and your future home. So what should you keep an eye out for? What should you ask? What should you wear? Where should you go? I’ve got you covered with perfect open house etiquette to ensure you get the most out of your experience.

Make sure you dress to impress. Remember, this is an interview. The seller and their real estate agents are looking for the perfect person to take care of the home they’ve cared for all this time. Dressing appropriately can make a great impression. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes if you’re really going to look around and stay awhile.

You may think, “this is an open house, so I have free reign to poke around…” Not so fast. This is still the seller’s home. It is important to see every nook and cranny, but ask permission before you start opening doors and looking in drawers. A door may be closed for a reason, so feel free to ask why, and feel free to ask permission to look inside. A little politeness may go a long way.

You won’t be the only ones looking at the house. Keep an eye on the competition, and listen to the questions everyone else is asking too! You may get an idea of who you’re up against, and the reasons why your fellow open house-goers are looking to buy.

Now it’s time for the questions. Before you go room to room, think big. Ask: Why is the house for sale? How long has it been on the market? Has the price fluctuated, or have offers been made? Ask to see the property disclosures, and follow up on any issues you might see. 

Look around at your environment. Are you near a good school for the kids? Are there loud highways, or noisy neighbors that may disturb your peace? Where does the sun fall as it makes its way down?

As you make your way through the house, the real estate agent present should be willing to walk with you and answer any questions you may have. In each room, ask if any major renovations have been made. If there is carpet in the bedrooms or living rooms, ask how long it has been there, and what’s underneath in case you plan to remove it. Have any of the rooms been recently painted? As for the kitchens and bathrooms, this is where the water issues lie. Ask about water pressure, and if there have been any issues concerning water. If there is a basement, ask about mold and water issues there as well.

If the house you’re looking at has a yard, be sure to inquire about problem spots, pest control, and water flow for heavy rain periods.

The interview is coming to an end. You’re about to shake hands and move on. If you have any more questions and concerns, this is the time to ask them. Ask the agent if the sellers have a timeline so that you may make your decision wisely and in a timely fashion. You can feel great about being thorough and well-informed. This is a major decision after all, and real estate agents are here to help!