Category Blogs I Follow

How to Choose the Right Firewood

Thanks to Clean Sweep for this episode of Tips from the Pros about choosing firewood.

How to Choose the Right Firewood

While warm fires are the last thing you want burning in your house in the summer heat, fall and brisk winter nights are right around the corner. When cooler days come around, you should start by cleaning out your fireplace and getting a chimney inspection. Once your chimney has been prepped, you need to choose the right firewood.

Clean Sweep choosing firewood

Dry Firewood is the Best Firewood

As a general rule of thumb, remember that dry firewood is the best firewood. Wood is filled with small tubes that run water from the roots below the ground into the trunk and branches. When the wood is cut, those tubes will still have moisture in them...

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Weekly Mortgage Rates

Thanks to Mark Hines of Fidelity Bank for this episode of Tips from the Pros about mortgages.

Looks like FHLB (Federal Home Loan Bank) Grant has used all of its funds. There could be small amount come back as available but no more applications are to be taken for this valuable grant this year. Looks like 2019 in mid-January looks like the next window of opportunity.

The projection for the rates going into new week is to downright avoid floating any locks as news is mortgage rate un-friendly.

Don’t forget we have the FHA 203k full and streamline and Fannie Mae Homestyle rehab loans available.

As always feel free to use the rates below as a guideline for this weekend’s business.

Feel free to call with any borrower questions!

tips from the pros mortgage rates tips from the pros mortgage rates for this week

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big move can be messy but it can be organized

The Big Move

Thanks to Cindy Bernstein of Aim4Order for this episode of Tips from the Pros about moving.

Whether you are downsizing, upsizing, moving for work or for another reason, making the move go as smoothly as possible is the main goal. Here are some tips to make things easier.

Create a timeline

Don’t wait until the last minute to do everything. Things like setting up your utilities, moving your cable, phone, internet access and forwarding your mail need to be done ahead of time. Schedule movers or rent a truck and organize your friends and family to help you move. Create a timeline with each task and when it needs to be completed – and stick to it.
Make lists if you need them and check off tasks as you complete them. Keep your lists and timeline together so you can easily find them.

Me...

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Stress and Your Clutter

Thanks to Cindy Bernstein of Aim4Order for this episode of Tips from the Pros on stress and your clutter.

stress and clutterPsychologist Sherrie Bourg Carter said in an article in Psychology Today, “Clutter can play a significant role in how we feel about our homes, our workplaces, and ourselves. Messy homes and workspaces leave us feeling anxious, helpless, and overwhelmed. Yet, rarely is clutter recognized as a significant source of stress in our lives.”

Touching causes an emotional attachment, and that makes us attached to the things around our homes. The pain of giving up something reaches the anterior cingulate cortex part of the brain. It’s the same place associated with physical pain, so the pain you feel when giving up your belongings is real.

That’s how we are attached to our clutter, bu...

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Fireplace Safety for the Winter

This issue of Tips from the Pros is brought to you by Clean Sweep Chimney, Gutter & Slate Service.

clean sweet fireplace safety

Staying warm during the winter could mean piling on blankets, slipping on socks or huddling on the couch in front of a space heater, but for many people, it means lighting up the fireplace. Before you get cozy, refresh your fireplace safety knowledge with these simple tips.

Is Your Chimney Clean?

Before you worry about what type of logs to burn, you need to ensure that you have a clean chimney. Your chimney should be professionally swept at least once a year. Creosote, soot and debris will all be removed from the inside and the structure will be inspected for safety. If there are any problems with your chimney, it’s much better to find them out before something dangerous occurs.

How Low Sh...

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Do I need to organize?

Thanks to Cindy Bernstein of Aim4Order for this episode of Tips from the Pros about how to organize your home.

organize your home

When you organize, you will find you have more time for yourself.

“I can find everything I need, it might just take me a while.”

“I know where all of the important stuff is in my home.”

Are these statements you’ve made? Do you spend time every day looking for things? It’s time to get organized!

Having clutter can be like carrying weights around with you all day. It slows you down and takes away time that could be spent with more productive or fun tasks. You may have trouble reaching your personal and business goals.

Once you have eliminated clutter and organized what is left, you’ll find that your mind seems more clear and you actually feel better...

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Preparedness for big storms

Thanks to Cindy Bernstein of Aim4Order for this episode of Tips from the Pros about how to organize your home.

preparedness is important when storms are on their way

With the number of hurricanes happening this season, it’s time to talk about planning for an emergency. It might seem corny or unnecessary, but having family fire drills can save lives. An emergency plan can come in handy when you need it.

In Baltimore, we have been spared the worst of the hurricanes, but the storms that end up here can be serious. They cause downed trees, water coming inside and a loss of power. Preparedness before a big storm is always a good idea.

Doctors recommend you have at least a week of your medications on hand at any given time. Having only one or two day’s worth of your medication could cause you extra stress in an already stressful situation...

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The 15 minute organizing challenge

Thanks to Cindy Bernstein of Aim4Order for this month’s Tips from the Pros about ways to reduce clutter.

aim 4 order tips from the prosInstead of trying to organize your entire home in one afternoon, break bigger tasks into smaller ones and start organizing little by little. The clutter didn’t happen in a day and reducing it doesn’t either. Take the challenge and try to do 15 minutes of organizing every day for a week.

Here are some thing you can do in around 15 minutes:

Go through a stack of mail.

Recycle what you can, and keep current bills in a folder or drawer. Or pay the bills and file whatever you need to save for tax purposes. If you haven’t read an article in a few months, toss the magazines. If you really want to save it, cut out the article you want and recycle the rest...

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A plan for organizing

tips for the pros organizing

Interior of a nice apartment with living room furniture and an exterior balcony.

Thanks to Cindy Bernstein of Aim4Order for this month’s Tips from the Pros about creating a plan to organize.

The struggle is real. Organizing your home can be an enormous job and because of this, it can be hard to even get started. Setting a plan can help. Once you figure out what you want to do, it becomes easier to execute. Having less clutter around the house makes cleaning and maintaining your living space much easier.

Visualize

Think about how you want your home to look. Consider homes you have seen in magazines and how much space there is in them. Think about everything being put away or gone and how nice the room will be. Visualization works!

Get supplies together

You’ll need trash bags, boxes o...

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8 Ways to Reduce Clutter

Thanks to Cindy Bernstein of Aim4Order for this month’s Tips from the Pros about ways to reduce clutter.

Everyday habits can drastically reduce clutter if you stick to it. By doing some simple tasks that take only a few minutes each day you will be able to get rid of the piles of laundry, stacks of dishes and towers of mail.

reduce clutter in bedroom

Let go of the idea that everything needs to be perfect. A home that is manageable is not only achievable, but much more realistic.

  1. Write out a to do list for each day, preferably the night before, with everything you need to do. Prioritize everything so even if you don’t get through the list, you at least do the most important tasks. Check the list throughout the day. Cross off things you did and watch how productive you are...
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