Gutter Cleaning

What
Gutters need to be cleared of leaves and debris that may have accumulated in order to function properly.
Why
Clogged gutters can wreak havoc on your roof, siding, and foundation. These repairs can be extremely expensive.
How
Many homeowners opt into a service contract with a gutter cleaning company that schedules twice a year. We recommend these plans because they are typically affordable and there is potential danger involved with accessing the gutters on many homes. Generally these specialists will get up on a ladder and check & clear the gutters & downspouts of debris. Clearing them can often be challenging due to baked on foliage (spring) or frozen leaves (winter) attached to the insides of the channels, so if you are doing this yourself, make sure you have a good ladder and a spotter helping you out. Water is generally run through the system after the channels are cleared. Make sure that all of your downspouts are extended away from the foundation at the ground level. Often, it may be necessary to regrade your soil in some spots so that all water is directed away from your home.
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Your Guide to September

Looking for things to do this September? Mark your calendars, because this month’s theme is all about giving back, and there’s no shortage of opportunities to get involved.

September 7 — National Food Bank Day

Did you know 41 million people in the U.S. struggle with hunger? Chances are, you know someone — a neighbor, a coworker, a classmate — who faces hunger every day. Food banks across the country play a pivotal role in providing meals to families in need, and they rely on people like you and me to help. On National Food Bank Day, do your part to help close the food gap in your community by donating food, time, or money to your local food bank. Visit FeedingAmerica.org to find a food bank near you.

 

 

 

September 11 — Patriot Day 

 

One of the best ways we can honor the victims, survivors, and responders of the 9/11 attacks is by sharing kindness and spreading hope to those around us. On this National Day of Service and Remembrance, join with your fellow Americans to pay it forward by taking part in a volunteer activity. Head to NationalService.gov to discover how you can get involved.

 

 

 

September 16 — National Working Parents Day

 

Along with meetings, deadlines, and navigating career growth, working parents are also tasked with being home chef, chauffeur, housekeeper, boo-boo fixer, and much more. Every day, these unsung heroes go above and beyond to provide for their families, and it goes without saying that they deserve a little recognition. Think of ways you can lighten the load for the working parents in your life, and if you’re one of them, give yourself a pat on the back for all the hard work you do!

 

 

 

September 17 — Constitution Day and Citizenship Day 

 

Constitution Day and Citizenship Day commemorates the signing of the Constitution on September 17, 1787, and recognizes all people who were born as or have become American citizens. Think you could pass the test to become a naturalized citizen today? Take the civics practice test to check your knowledge of U.S. government and history.

 

 

 

September 22 — National Public Lands Day/First Day of Fall

 

Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast or not, we all benefit when our natural resources and public lands remain safe, resilient, and cared for. National Public Lands Day is the perfect opportunity to connect with your community through environmental stewardship, and it just so happens to fall on the first day of autumn! With activities such as trail refurbishing, tree planting, and trash removal, you can help keep our recreational areas, wildlife refuges, and national parks thriving for years to come. Find a volunteer opportunity  at neefusa.org.

5 NEGOTIATING TACTICS THAT KILL A SALE

Negotiation is a subtle art in real estate, but skilled negotiators can usually find some common ground that satisfies all parties. On the other hand, using the wrong negotiation tactics can sink a deal pretty quickly. Here are some negotiation tactics buyers (and real estate professionals) should avoid:

  1. Lowball offers: Going far below market value when you make an offer damages your credibility as a buyer and can be insulting to the seller. The seller has a range in mind that they’ll accept, and if you’re not even approaching the low end of that range, they won’t even consider the offer.
  2. Incremental negotiations: Don’t continue to go back to the seller with small increases in your offer ($1,000 or less). The constant back-and-forth can grow tiresome and lead the seller to consider other opportunities.
  3. “Take it or leave it”: Try not to draw a line in the sand with your initial offer. The seller can get defensive and consider other offers if you immediately show that you’re unwilling to budge. Even if it’s true, don’t make a show of it.
  4. Nitpicking after inspection: Obviously if inspection reveals a major issue, it should be factored into the final sale price. But insisting on a lower price for every minor repair can put negotiations in a stalemate.
  5. Asking for more, more, more: Some buyers will request that the sellers throw in add-ons like furniture or appliances that weren’t included in the listing. Try to avoid giving the seller a reason to build up resentment and think that you’re being greedy.

Your Guide to August

 

It’s hard to believe summer is drawing to a close! Soon the kids will be back to school (whew!) and your vacation will be just a memory (aww). But while we’ve still got a bit of summer left, be sure to enjoy it to the fullest with these great upcoming events!

 

August 9 — National Book Lovers Day

Are you always looking for an excuse to drop everything and curl up in a comfy chair with a good book? Then this day is for you! Bookworms across the country, get ready to stock up on reading material, turn off your cell phone, and settle down for a full day of page-turning indulgence!

 Want to support child literacy in America? The Reading Is Fundamental charitable organization has been around since 1966. Learn more and contribute at rif.org.

 

 

August 18 — National Honey Bee Day 


Bees are more than just chubby striped bugs that might sting you. In fact, the health of the entire planet may be affected by the recent drop in the bee population. One-third of the world’s food production depends on bee pollination, and the population of bees in a given area is a strong indicator of that area’s overall environmental health. Here are a few ways you can help save the honey bees:

 

  • Plant flora that bees like. Clover, flowering trees, and blue, purple, and yellow flowers are favorites.

  • Stop using pesticides. A survey of 800 independent scientific studies concluded that the recent alarming bee die-offs were caused, in part, by the use of chemical pesticides.

  • Donate to the Pollinator Partnership. This nonprofit is dedicated to protecting and supporting pollinators around the world.

 

 

 

August 19 — World Humanitarian Day

Every day, humanitarian aid workers help ease the suffering of millions of people around the world. The United Nations created this day to honor the humanitarian workers striving to make the world a better place and to remember those who have lost their lives in conflict.

 

 

 

August 26 — Women’s Equality Day

Sufferin’ suffragettes! Did you know there was a time when women could not own property, sign contracts, or even cast a vote to help shape the country they lived in? Thanks to the suffragettes of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the 19th Amendment was ratified in 1920, prohibiting voter discrimination on the basis of sex and giving women the right to vote.

 

 

 

August 27-September 9 — 50th U.S. Open

Tennis, anyone? With a new logo and a new stadium, the U.S. Open is celebrating its 50th birthday in a big way! We’re all set to watch the game we love, and it’s not our fault we couldn’t get tickets. Check out this year’s schedule so you don’t miss any of the action.

Furnace Maintenance

What
Annual furnace maintenance is mandatory for ensuring its optimal working condition.

 

Why
A poorly maintained and/or inefficient furnace could be costing you huge amounts of money and could prove to be a safety risk.

 
How
We highly recommend that annual service be completed by a certified HVAC or other heating specialist. Some of the main things they should do in this annual service include but are not limited to the following: 1- Replacing the furnace’s air filter 2- Cleaning its burners 3- Clearing vent lines 4- Checking for any small leaks 5- Cleaning its exterior 6- Monitoring its efficiency and performance

 
Now is the time to do it before cold weather is upon us!

Home Maintenance Reminders

Show your dryer some love

Most people know to clean the lint screen after every load of laundry. Keeping that filter clear will shorten the drying cycle, save you money, and prevent any potential fire hazards.

It is also good practice to regularly, but at least twice a year, remove the lint that accumulates at the bottom of the housing that holds your lint screen.

 

What 
Dryers require regular simple maintenance to keep working safely & efficiently.

 

Why 
To avoid potential fire hazards and having to do costly repairs to your appliances.

 

How 
It goes without saying that you should clean your lint screen after every load of laundry. Keeping the filter clear will shorten the drying cycle, save you money, and prevent any potential fire hazards. It is also a good practice to regularly, but at least twice a year, remove the lint that accumulates at the bottom of the housing that holds your lint screen. You can generally use a vacuum cleaner’s flat attachment to reach down in the housing to suck out anything that has accumulated in there. Finally, you should be cleaning out your dryer’s exhaust duct using a dryer duct cleaning brush (it’s a stiff bristled circular brush with a flexible handle that you can buy at most hardware stores) at least twice a year. The exhaust duct vents your dryers exhaust to the outside of your house and can become a fire hazard if not kept clear. Consider doing this more often (say monthly) if you do heavy amounts of laundry on a consistent basis. Many service providers sell regular service plans to handle this for you, so consider signing up for one.