Gail Therriault | Jaffrey Real Estate, Rindge Real Estate, Peterborough Real Estate


Chimney maintenance and repair is incredibly important. You need to complete certain tasks to ensure that your fireplace is working safely and effectively. There’s no better time than the off season to get these tasks in order. 


Remember that you should only burn dry wood in your fireplace. Although fireplaces aren’t high on the technology spectrum, they do require some effort to keep in working order. Failure to do so can result in smoke and even a chimney fire. Soot build up can put a damper on the proper ventilation of the chimney. The soot is partly a result of creosote- a combustible, tar-like substance. It’s a natural by-product of wood that has been burned. With reduced ventilation, the creosote will cause potentially dangerous build up.


While creosote itself is not flammable, it can cause the chimney to clog and structural damage could result. It’s important to properly maintain your chimney in order to prevent dangerous oil build-up that can cause a chimney fire.


Inspections


A professional can come and inspect your fireplace and chimney. They can check for damage, obstructions, build-up, or soot. The inspector will be able to determine if you need a sweep of your chimney. The inspector will be able to do the sweep on the spot in most cases. An inspection of your chimney should take place every year.   


There are different levels of chimney inspections that occur. Basic inspections are a visual look at anything that could be in your chimney from soot to a bird’s nest. More complex inspections could involve taking the chimney apart and physically reconstructing the structure. This would occur after some kind of a natural disaster like a hurricane or a tornado. The cost of these inspections depends on how extensive they become.


Other Maintenance


You can improve your fireplace’s functioning with a few basic steps. Fist, you should only burn dry wood. Logs should be split and dried for 8-12 months. You should also burn certain types of wood especially hardwoods like hickory, oak, beech, maple and ash. These woods burn the longest. The most important thing about wood to be burned in the fireplace is that it is dry.       


Burn Only Wood


It can be tempting to throw things into your fireplace to burn, but you should keep away from burning construction wood, plastics, or other things that could let off odors. Even burning paper can be dangerous because of the embers that result as the fire burns.


If you keep on top of your scheduled chimney maintenance and replace parts as needed, you’ll be able to have lovely fires all winter long with peace of mind.


Believe it or not, the process of buying a home can become long and complicated. And if you're not careful, you may encounter many hurdles that prevent you from acquiring your dream residence.

Lucky for you, we're here to teach you about the ins and outs of buying a house and help you simplify the process of going from homebuyer to homeowner.

Now, let's take a look at three common misconceptions associated with buying a home.

1. You will be able to acquire a house in a matter of days.

The process of locating your dream home is unlikely to happen overnight. Instead, a homebuyer usually will need to perform extensive housing market research to discover a residence that meets or exceeds his or her expectations.

Typically, a homebuyer will look at several houses before he or she can find the right residence. This homebuyer then will need to submit an offer on a house. And if a home seller accepts the homebuyer's proposal, a home inspection will need to be completed before a home purchase is finalized.

It is important to set realistic expectations for your home search. In most instances, it may take a few weeks or months to find your perfect residence. But with a diligent approach to your home search, you'll be able to discover a house that can serve you well for years to come.

2. You will be able to buy a home for less than a property's initial asking price.

Understanding the differences between a buyer's market and a seller's market is essential for a homebuyer.

In a buyer's market, many high-quality residences are available. This market usually favors homebuyers, and in many instances, enables property buyers to secure great houses at budget-friendly prices.

On the other hand, a seller's market features a shortage of first-rate properties. As a result, this market favors home sellers, and many homebuyers may compete with one another to secure the best houses.

Regardless of whether you're operating in a buyer's or seller's market, it is paramount to avoid the temptation to submit a "lowball" offer on a residence. By doing so, a homebuyer can minimize the risk of missing out on an opportunity to acquire his or her perfect residence.

3. You can find your dream home without help from a real estate agent.

When it comes to buying a house, the early bird catches the worm. Therefore, an informed, persistent homebuyer is more likely than others to locate a terrific home at an affordable price.

Ultimately, working with a real estate agent is ideal. With a real estate agent at your side, you can receive expert assistance throughout the homebuying journey.

A real estate agent will set up home showings, keep you up to date about new houses as they become available and much more. He or she also will respond to your homebuying questions and ensure you can acquire a stellar home in no time at all.

Take the guesswork out of buying a house – collaborate with a real estate agent, and you can make your homeownership dreams come true.


Photo by Huy Phan from Pexels

Plants and flower pots can be heavy items to move around. The good news is you can eliminate the trouble with a rolling plant caddy. You can build one yourself using rustic wood or precut pieces from your local home store.

Stability is the key here.  Plan to build the caddy large enough so that your largest potted plant will fit on top.  When you choose the wheels, be sure they are big enough to manage any terrain in your yard or patio.  Larger wheels tend to be more stable. Consider wheels with a locking option for added safety.  

Shapes and Styles

As many planters are round, a round platform works nicely but as long as the flat surface you work with fits the pot you're using with it, any shape can work.  Most hardware stores sell pre-cut wood circles ranging in sizes. These often come with smoothly finished sides that look nice with or without additional paint or stain. 

Craft stores and superstores sell standard-sized wooden crates, which might work as the top of your caddy if all your planters will fit inside.  You may want to use the whole crate or trim the sides down so you won’t have to lift planters as high.

If either of the above options is appealing to you, you'll just need 4 casters and Step 5 of the following project. If you'd prefer to tailor your caddy to a specific size you can build a simple rustic wood square or rectangle with just a few materials.  Here's an example that results in a 10-inch rolling caddy

2 10-inch lengths of 1X4 

5 10-inch lengths of 1X2

4 casters or wheels of your choice

  1. Lay the 2 1X4 pieces next to each other on a flat surface. They should be parallel to each other with about 2 inches of space between them.
  2. Next, evenly place the 1X2 pieces on top of the 1X4s, they should be perpendicular to the Pieces from Step 1.
  3. Secure the pieces with wood screws and wood glue for extra strength. Allow the glue to dry completely.
  4. If you want to add some color to your project, paint or stain the caddy and allow the finish to dry completely.
  5. Flip the project over so that the 1X2 section is touching the table. Place a wheel in each corner and secure to the 1X4 sections with screws.

That's it! This plant caddy will surely come in handy. Apply lubricant to the wheels every so often and it should last a long time!


After you decide to sell your home, it may be only a few weeks before you need to pack up your belongings and relocate to a new address. Thus, it may be beneficial to start planning ahead for moving day. By doing so, you can sell any items you have no plans to bring to your new address before moving day arrives.

Ultimately, there are many items that you may want to sell prior to listing your residence. These items include:

1. Appliances

An outdated refrigerator, washer or dryer is unlikely to do you any favors when you show your home to potential buyers. At the same time, you may be unlikely to bring these appliances to a new home in the foreseeable future.

If your current appliances no longer serve your needs, you may want to sell your appliances and pick up new ones. New appliances may help make your home more attractive than ever before to potential buyers. Plus, you can account for the price of any new appliances when you set your home's initial asking price.

Meanwhile, you should have no trouble selling appliances online or at a yard sale. You also can donate appliances to a local charity or give them to family members, friends or others.

2. Furniture

Your couch, work desk or other furniture have been staples in your residence for many years. Yet these items may take up lots of space. And in some instances, your furniture may make it tough for you to show off the true size and beauty of your house.

When it comes to selling your current furniture, there may be no reason to wait. If you sell your current furniture today, you can earn extra cash that you can always use to buy new furniture for your new house. Furthermore, you can avoid the challenges commonly associated with moving big, bulky furniture from your current address to a new residence.

3. Decorations

As a home seller, it is important to make it simple for prospective buyers to fall in love with your residence. And if you have decorations set up around your home, it may be difficult for a buyer to envision what life may be like if he or she purchases your house. As such, if you have lawn decorations, paintings or other decorations outside and inside your home, you may want to sell these items sooner rather than later.

Selling decorations online or at a yard sale is an effective option for those who want to get rid of various decorations. On the other hand, if you need to get rid of decorations immediately, you can give your current decorations away for free.

Lastly, as you get ready to sell your home, you may want to hire a real estate agent too. With a real estate agent at your side, you can receive expert recommendations as you navigate each stage of the property selling journey. As a result, you can receive comprehensive home selling support and boost the likelihood of a fast, profitable property selling experience.


The process of closing on a home can seem lengthy and complex if it’s your first time buying or selling a house. There are several costs and fees required to close on a home, and while it’s up to the individuals to decide who covers what costs, there are some conventions to follow.

In this article, we’re going to talk about closing costs for selling a house and signing on a mortgage. We’ll discuss who pays what, and whether there is room for negotiation within the various fees and expenses.

But first, let’s talk a little bit about what closing costs are and what to expect when you start the process of buying or selling a home.

Closing costs, simplified

If you’re just now entering the real estate market, the good news is you can often estimate your closing costs based on the value of the property in question. You can ask your real estate agent relatively early on in the process for a ballpark figure of your costs.

Closing costs will vary depending on the circumstances of your sale and the area you live in. In some cases, closing costs can be bundled into your mortgage, such as in “No Closing Cost Mortgages.” However, avoiding having to deal with closing costs often comes at the expense of a slightly higher interest rate.

If you are planning to buy a house and have recently applied for a mortgage, laws require that your lender sends you an estimate of your closing costs within a few days of your application.

Now that we know how closing costs work, let’s take a look at who plays what.

Buyer closing costs

In terms of the sheer number of closing costs, buyers tend to have the most to deal with. Fortunately, your real estate agent will help you navigate these costs and simplify the process.

They can range from two to five percent of the cost of the sale price of the home. However, be sure to check with your lender for the closest estimate of your closing costs. It’s a good idea to shop around for mortgage lenders based on interest rates as well as closing costs charged by the lender.

Here are some of the costs you might be asked to pay as a home buyer:

  • Appraisal fees

  • Attorney fees

  • Origination fees

  • Prepaid interest or discount points

  • Home inspection fee

  • Insurance and Escrow deposits

  • Recording fees

  • Underwriting fees

Seller Closing Costs

While the seller pays a larger amount of closing costs, sellers still have obligations at closing that can be just as expensive. The biggest expense for sellers is to pay the real estate commission. Commission usually falls in the vicinity of 6% of the sale price of the home. This covers the commission of both the seller’s and the buyer’s real estate agents. 


The main takeaway? Buyers and sellers both share the burden of closing costs. While the buyer has more expenses to take care of, the seller pays for the largest costs.




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