Sally Malsch, CRS, GRI, ABR, SRES, ePRO
Five College REALTORS ģ | 413-519-4465 | sally@sallymalsch.com


Posted by Sally Malsch on 6/20/2018

There are more cleaning supplies on the market than ever before. If you walk down the cleaning section of Target you'll find an array of brooms, scrubbers, and solutions that are all variations on the same simple ideas. Furthermore, these products have begun capitalizing on single-use components like a sweeper with throwaway pads or disposable dusters. All of these expenses add up and before you know it you're spending up to $70 each month just on cleaning supplies. Fortunately, many frugal consumers have noticed this trend and have come up with creative ways to save money on cleaning.†In this article, we'll cover some frugal cleaning products and solutions that will save you a ton of money at the checkout line.

Sweeping, dusting, and mopping

Let's face it, the Swiffer is a great invention. It mops, sweeps, and dusts without the mess of a bucket of water. Plus it's lightweight and versatile making it useful for many surfaces around the home. The down side? Having to buy all of those expensive replacement pads. If you're like me, you feel a twinge of guilt whenever you throw out at item that seems wasteful. For me, cleaning supplies are the epitome of wastefulness. So, instead of using the throwaway pads you could do a a few things. First, you could buy a reusable pad online. Some are designed to fit various sweepers. Alternatively, there are some cloths that you can buy at your local dollar store that will fit onto your sweeper just fine. Once one gets dirty, put the next one on and sink wash them all when you're done. The other option is to knit or crochet your own sweeper cover. There are lots of patterns online that will help you get started, plus a hand-made cloth adds more meaning to the mundane work of sweeping the house. For those spots you don't dust with your†sweeper-duster (like a TV, or the tops of picture frames), you could always dust with your used†dryer sheets that you'd otherwise just toss in the trash. Keep them in a bag in your cabinet so you remember to use them.

Go paperless

Paper towels and napkins are always expensive and seldom on sale. Plus, all that paper usage does a number on the environment. Instead of reaching for a paper towel at dinner, keep a stack of microfiber cloths, handkerchiefs, or hand towels. When this isn't possible, like in the case of a big cookout, use choose-a-size paper towels to get more usage out of a roll. And speaking of choosing a size, the next time you buy sponges or "magic erasers," cut them in half to double the length of time you can use them.

Cleaning solutions

Making your own cleaning solutions has many benefits. First, you get to save money because the supplies tend to be cheap, household items. Second, you get to avoid all of the harsh chemicals that are often added to commercial cleaners, helping your health and the environment. Third, you can make them in bulk and not have to worry about them running out. Recipes for homemade cleaning solutions and air fresheners are abundant online. In general, however, they rely on a few simple ingredients: water, vinegar, baking soda, and some type of citrus like lemons, limes, or oranges.





Posted by Sally Malsch on 6/13/2018

For a home seller, hosting an open house can be a double-edged sword.

On the one hand, an open house provides an opportunity to showcase your residence to large groups of prospective homebuyers. Conversely, hosting an open house also requires lots of preparation, and getting ready for an open house may prove to be overwhelming, time-consuming and costly.

Lucky for you, we're here to help host an unforgettable open house.

Now, let's take a look at three factors that a home seller needs to consider before an open house.

1. The Current Condition of Your Home

Although you might believe that your home is currently open house-ready, it may need some work. Fortunately, there are many ways to learn about the strengths and weaknesses of your residence and plan your open house accordingly.

For example, a home appraisal may prove to be exceedingly valuable. This appraisal enables a home inspector to review your residence both inside and out. Then, he or she can offer home improvement recommendations so that you can upgrade your residence as needed.

Take a home appraisal report seriously. By doing so, a home seller can transform an ordinary residence into one that matches or exceeds homebuyers' expectations during an open house.

2. The Home's Interior or Exterior

Homebuyers are drawn to residences that feature dazzling gardens, clutter-free interiors and other stunning features. Thus, a home seller who dedicates the necessary time and resources to bolster a house's interior and exterior can increase the likelihood of hosting a successful open house.

To improve a home's interior, a home seller can scrub the floors, clean the walls and ceilings and perform assorted home interior maintenance and improvements. In addition, a home seller should depersonalize and declutter a home's interior as much as possible.

Comparatively, to enhance a house's exterior, a home seller should mow the front lawn, clear debris and dust from exterior walkways and ensure the house looks great to passers-by. With simple home exterior improvements, a home seller can boost a house's curb appeal and help a home stand out from other available residences.

3. Your Real Estate Agent

Let's face it Ė prepping for an open house can be stressful. However, a real estate agent can help a home seller get ready for the best- and worst-case scenarios.

A real estate agent will help a home seller prepare his or her residence for an open house. Next, he or she will promote the open house to potential homebuyers and collect feedback from them throughout the event.

After an open house reaches its conclusion, a real estate agent will offer honest, unbiased insights into the event. He or she also will keep you up to date about any potential home offers and ensure you can make informed home selling decisions.

Take the guesswork out of preparing for an open house. Consider the aforementioned factors, and you can get your residence ready for an open house in no time at all.




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Sally Malsch on 6/6/2018

Although you'd like to eliminate as much clutter as possible before you sell your house, doing so may seem like a long, arduous task. Fortunately, you don't have to be a home organization expert to remove clutter from your house quickly and effortlessly.

Now, let's take a look at three creative ways to help home sellers eliminate clutter instantly.

1. Develop a daily declutter schedule

Believe it or not, it doesn't take long to declutter a home, regardless of the size of your house. With a declutter schedule at your disposal, you can set small and large decluttering goals and make daily progress toward a clutter-free house.

Even spending five minutes a day decluttering your house can make a world of difference. Over the course of a week or month, you'll start to notice lots of free space fills your residence Ė something that homebuyers are sure to appreciate.

Also, don't forget to stick to your declutter schedule as closely as possible. And if you miss a day along the way, there's no need to worry, as you can always try to make up for lost time the following day.

2. Give away one item each day

If you have excess items, why not offer them to family members, friends and others who may be able to use them?

Ultimately, if you strive to give away one item daily, you can declutter your home and help family members, friends and others at the same time.

Giving away items is a quick, simple way to declutter. Meanwhile, offering these items to others enables you to do a good deed, as you'll be able to provide something useful to someone who wants it at no charge.

3. Start with a single trash bag

Fill up a single trash bag with clutter and see what happens Ė you'll be glad you did.

After you fill a trash bag, you'll likely find that you have many options.

This trash bag may be donated to a charitable organization, one that could use the excess items. Or, you may decide the trash bag items could be sold at a yard sale or listed online for a profit. On the other hand, if you find the trash bag items are damaged and no longer usable, you may choose to dispose of the trash bag altogether.

A gradual approach to decluttering is key, particularly for home sellers who want to alleviate stress as they prepare their residences for the real estate market. With this approach, home sellers can boost their chances of remaining calm, cool and collected as they eliminate clutter.

Lastly, if you need additional assistance with decluttering, your real estate agent may be able to lend a helping hand. This housing market professional can put you in touch with local junk removal companies that can help you eliminate clutter without delay.

Take care of clutter today, and by doing so, a home seller can move one step closer to getting the best price for his or her residence.





Posted by Sally Malsch on 5/30/2018

If youíre on the hunt for a home, youíre undoubtedly excited. You might be eager to ask a lot of questions and get all the information that you can. Youíre also probably eager to share quite a bit of information about yourself and your home purchase. While this is a great approach, this isnít the case for everyone youíre involved with in your real estate transaction. When youíre dealing with the sellerís agent, more information isnít always better. You donít need to share as much information with them as you may think you do. Your agent as a buyer is your advocate. They do know a lot of information about you, and they should. Your buyerís agent knows everything from your budget to your needs and wants. The sellerís agent doesnít need to know any of this! This is why you hire a buyerís agent in the first place. Hereís what you shouldnít divulge to a sellerís agent and why:


Your Opinion Of The House


Youíll want to be as neutral as possible when it comes to how much you like or dislike a house. While itís perfectly fine to let the agent know that you feel at home in the space and are interested in putting in an offer, you don't need to get into too many details. 


On the flip side, if you have a few things that you donít like about a house, you should keep those to yourself. You donít want to decide to put an offer in on the home, only to be seen as a less than serious buyer. In hot markets, you should always give yourself the upper hand. 


Your Budget


You should never let a sellerís agent know how much youíre looking to spend on a home. If sellers know how high or how low youíre willing to go on a home purchase, both the buyer and the seller should get a fair price for the home. Your goal as a buyer is to have your offer accepted at the best possible price. 


Let Your Agent Do His Job


While it can be hard in the midst of excitement, you should really let your agent do most of the talking when it comes to a home purchase. Your agent can help you through everything from negotiations to working with your lender to navigating you through open houses. Your agent may even be able to attend quite a few open houses right along with you. This way, youíll have someone else to do the talking for you. Just remember the tips above in case youíre flying solo through some home tours. While itís great to be eager on your home search, itís never to your benefit to be overzealous.




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Sally Malsch on 5/23/2018

Like any aspect of home maintenance, keeping your house safe for family and visitors requires awareness, planning, and attention. If you don't prioritize home safety and security, then there's a greater chance "Murphy's Law" will come into play when you least expect it.

Realistically speaking, the concept that "If something can go wrong, it will (and at the worst possible time)" certainly does not have any basis in fact. Everything that happens is the result of "cause and effect."

Fortunately, we can exert control over cause and effect and use it to our benefit. Here are several safety tips to keep in mind and implement to increase the probability that your home will be a safe place to live, visit, and perhaps grow old in.

  1. Fire safety is of paramount importance. It runs the gamut from making sure you have working smoke alarms and fire extinguishers to having second floor escape ladders and designated meeting places and exit plans.
  2. Proper lighting, both inside and out, can not only discourage burglars, but it also reduces the risk of mishaps, such as tripping, falling, or twisting an ankle.
  3. Shower and bathtub safety is important for everyone, but it's especially crucial for senior citizens and households that have elderly visitors, such as grandparents. A combination of safety railings and non-slip safety decals, stickers, or appliques on the tub floor would be your first line of defense against slips and falls in the bathroom.
  4. Stair safety is also well worth focusing on. It can be improved in your home in a number of ways, including the installation and reinforcement of hand rails. Making sure stairs are properly illuminated, especially at the bottom, can also help prevent falls and stumbles. Another preventative measure is to put a strip of brightly colored tape across the bottom step in your basement so that people realize there's one more step to go before they reach the floor. Any momentary confusion about that can result in falls and injuries.
  5. Protective equipment, such as goggles, work gloves, dust masks, and other safety gear may be necessary for certain types of cleaning, home repair work, tree pruning, or construction activities around the house and yard. Ladder safety and awareness is another important topic when it comes to reducing falls and injuries around the house.
  6. Ensuring child safety is a challenging priority, and can include everything from preventing access to dangerous household chemicals and medications to locking up gun cabinets and placing barriers around swimming pools, windows, and hot stoves. Hardware stores and other retail businesses often carry baby gates, child-resistant cabinet locks, toilet bowl safety clips, electrical outlet covers, and even rubber cushioning for the edges of coffee tables and fireplace hearths.

While this list of safety tips is not all-inclusive, it will hopefully encourage you to become more vigilant and attuned to all the different potential hazards in and around your home and property. If you're concerned about a specific area of home safety, there are free checklists, pamphlets, and articles available through government agencies, educational institutes, non-profit organizations, and the Internet.




Categories: Uncategorized