Tue Sep 06 23:51:27 UTC 2016

Real Estate Strategies for Fall

Posted by: CENTURY 21 Gentry Realtors

A good agent should expect the unexpected, but CENTURY 21® Real Estate can make your life a little bit easier by helping you to prepare for what you know is coming. This time of year, it’s fall. The approaching new season will bring in a new set of seasonal changes that may affect how clients view or feel about your open house. Here, we’ve outlined a few tips to help you strategically welcome fall with open arms.Maintain Curb AppealMonitor the outside of your open house consistently, since fallen leaves may make a home appear sloppy or unkempt. While you can certainly grab a rake or leaf blower and get to work, consider hiring a lawn care service to come by on a regular basis to take away debris when you’re not available. After all, potential home buyers may be taking a look at the home during off hours.Brighten the SpaceNatural light becomes rarer as the days get shorter. Whenever possible, host your open house in the daylight with curtains pinned back to let in as much sun as you can. However, if clients can only view your home during the evening, invest in extra floor lamps to brighten up the area.Utilize Email MarketingPeople tend to stay home in colder weather, which means they might not have the opportunity to view flyers posted around the neighborhood. Work around this by fully utilizing email marketing to capture the attention of every potential home buyer, not just the ones venturing outside.Study Market TrendsYou may find that business appears to slow down in the fall as families with children tend to stay put for the school year. However, this dip in activity does not affect the value of your home, nor should it discourage you. Instead, take advantage of this opportunity to enhance your networking and marketing skills. Attend events and participate in social media groups so that when business speeds up again, you’ll have an even stronger foundation than before.Start preparing your real estate strategy now so you can transition seamlessly from summer to fall.  201.315.5250 mobile     |     vince@century21.com

Sun May 01 18:21:27 UTC 2016

7 Creative and Quick Dining Room Updates

Posted by: CENTURY 21 Gentry Realtors

With so many dining rooms being converted into part of the living room or kitchen these days, dining room design has kind of fallen by the wayside. But if you’re one of the lucky homeowners to have hung on to a formal dining space, you’ve got an opportunity to make some amazing modern updates. Here are 7 affordable ways to breathe new life into an old dining room: #1 Perk things up with paint. Are your dining room walls still the same color they were when you moved into your house 10 years ago? If so, there’s a good chance the color’s a little past its prime. In fact, it may also be doing an injustice to your furniture and the updates you’ve made in adjoining rooms as well. Refresh the walls with a paint shade that makes you feel comfortable and cozy. The room will reflect that feeling. #2 Modernize the lighting.Are outdated chandeliers and lamps gathering dust in your dining room? Consider sending them packing and installing some recessed lighting and pendants in their place. Pendant lights, in particular, come in a wide variety of styles and colors sure to add some new pizzazz to your space. #3 Repurpose another room.If your dining room is located in an undesirable space — a cramped corner of the house away from the kitchen, for example — pick a new place for your table and chairs. Put them in the kitchen, if you have the the space. Or, place the dining table somewhere right in your living room, where there’s easy access to the TV and stereo. You should always feel comfortable during a meal, and being confined to an area you don’t enjoy doesn’t contribute to that feeling. #4 Add some visual appeal. Visual appeal doesn’t stop at paint and lighting. It’s also important to consider how wall decor may increase the interest and comfort of the room. Blank walls may make it easy to zone out and focus on your meals, but your guests will surely enjoy looking at something a little more interesting. Depending on your budget and the size of your dining room, consider hanging potted plants and colorful pieces of art. Just be sure to balance wall decor with other elements in the room so your space doesn’t feel like it’s cluttered with stuff. #5 Throw in a rug. One of the worst sounds to hear is a chair scratching against the floor as you go to get up from the dining table. So fix the issue. Add a rug underneath the table and chairs to make things soft and cozy. Choose a rug that isn’t too thick with fibers. Otherwise, your chairs can get stuck and twisted. Of course, you’ll also want to make sure that the style and color of your rug complement the rest of the room. #6 Use dividers. Many newer homes combine kitchen and dining spaces. If you want to create a dedicated dining space, think about incorporating a room divider. It’s much cheaper than installing a wall — and you can add shelves, plants or a sliding door to further divide the two spaces. Plus, the flexibility of the divider allows to revert back to the bigger space any time you like. #7 Build in.How’s your dining room designed? Do you have a table that sits in the middle with four chairs around it? If you want to make the room more functional — and create more storage in the process — think about ditching the clunky furniture and opting instead for built-ins like bench seating, china cabinets and buffets. A professional can create custom built-ins to suit any style. 201.315.5250 mobile     |     vince@century21.com

Sun May 01 15:21:41 UTC 2016

5 Common Questions Potential Home Buyers May Ask

Posted by: CENTURY 21 Gentry Realtors

After seeing your home online or during an open house, potential home buyers may have additional questions for you, the homeowner. Being knowledgeable and honest with potential buyers may expedite your home’s sale. Below are five questions you should be able to answer during the selling process. What is the status of…?Although you’ve probably listed the vital information about your home’s integrity in accordance with state law, there’s some information that may be absent from those forms and of general interest to potential buyers. They will likely want to know the quality and age of items such as your roof, appliances, plumbing, windows, central heating and cooling, and garage doors. Research your home’s various parts to know this information for potential home buyers. Has your home ever had a pest problem?Potential buyers may want to know if your home is prone to infestation by rodents, insects, or any other irksome little creatures. You’ve most likely managed any pest problems before putting your home on the market, but it’s important to give an honest account of your pest history if asked. How’s the neighborhood?This question is intentionally open-ended to let you share any pertinent information about the neighborhood that potential buyers should know. Buyers may be curious about neighbors, schools, restaurants, entertainment, safety, and other general facts. Be sure to highlight the stellar aspects of the neighborhood and shift emphasis away from any negatives. Where is…?Certain features of your home may be harder for buyers to locate. They may want to inspect items such as the water heater, sprinkler controls, thermostat, pool filter, and circuit breaker. Show potential buyers where these can be found and how they’re maintained. Is there anything else I should know about this house?This is your chance to share all the information you wish you’d had known when you moved in or things that may not have been covered yet. You could share things like when trash day is, the nearest hospitals, the best way to care for your lawn and garden, or which neighborhood dogs are your favorite. Be ready to answer any question a potential home buyer asks. If you don’t know the answer right away, be honest about it and be sure to get back to them promptly. 201.315.5250 mobile     |     vince@century21.com

Thu Mar 03 06:13:06 UTC 2016

Removing Carpet: 3 Things to Know

Posted by: CENTURY 21 Gentry Realtors

Old carpet can be an eyesore for many homeowners, as it can collect dust and age the room. If you are put off by the wall-to-wall covering, consider removing it. You might improve your home aesthetics and increase your home’s value by doing so. Here are three things to know before you get started. 1. Decide What to Do with Your Old Carpet Figure out what you want to do with your carpet before you remove it, so you’ll know whether to save the integrity of the material while working on it. An ecofriendly option is to recycle it, but that may cost an additional fee. However, if you think this is right for you, you can find out more from the Carpet America Recycling Effort. You can choose to donate if your carpet is in good condition, or even save it for yourself to repurpose for other household uses, like a cushion for your knees when cleaning low spaces or for a pet’s scratching post. 2. Prep the Room and Gather Tools You may want to have a crowbar, pliers, gloves, utility knife, dust mask, and knee pads on hand. First, vacuum the carpet to cut down on dust and debris. If you can, temporarily remove doors that swing open into the room to avoid possible obstructions. This might also make new carpet placement easier, if you’re choosing to do that. Then, remove all furniture from the room. 3. Start in the Corner and Roll as You Go Dislodge one of the corners of the carpet with pliers. You’ll find it’s attached to a piece of wood underneath, known as a tack strip. Once the carpet is loose from that, pull it away from the rest of the walls. If you’re not worried about saving the carpet, cut it into smaller more manageable strips to roll it up one section at a time. Beneath the carpet you’ll find a cushioning pad, which you can remove by the same method. While these tips may make carpet removal easier for you, remember that you can always call a professional for assistance, if any part of the job seems too daunting. MEDIA ENCLOSURE: http://www.century21.com/real-estate-blog/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/C21_Mar_B1_Blog-Carpet-150x150.png 201.315.5250 mobile     |     vince@century21.com

Wed Feb 24 07:05:55 UTC 2016

Neighborhood Checklist

Posted by: CENTURY 21 Gentry Realtors

When you buy a home, you’re getting more than just the structure of the house — you’re getting the neighborhood, too. We recommend visiting the new area multiple times at different times of the day to get a feel for it, since that may determine your family’s experience while living there. A great house might not be as enjoyable if the surrounding community isn’t a good fit. To help out with your neighborhood evaluation, use this checklist of important items to look out for.Sidewalks – The presence of sidewalks may indicate that the neighborhood is an active one. It may also be safer for those with children, since drivers and pedestrians won’t be sharing the same space.Parks – A nearby park might be beneficial for you and your family to get some exercise while meeting new people.Schools – Check to see how far away the schools are, and how your children would be getting there. This may not be as important for homeowners who don’t have children.Major Roads – Drive around to locate the closest major highways. If big roads are close, they may increase noise level around your home or become a security concern for those with small children and pets.Transportation – Depending on the area, you might not always depend on a car to get around. Explore the local public transportation options to see what works for you.Shopping Centers – Figure out how close you are to shopping centers so you can estimate how long it will take to run errands on a typical day.Restaurants – If your family likes to dine out, check out the food scene near your house to see if you’ll enjoy frequenting those restaurants.Recreational Centers – Whatever you and your family do for fun, make sure there’s something within a reasonable distance. Think fitness centers, pools, dance or martial arts studios, painting classes, or anything else that could entertain you and your family.At your next open house, bring this checklist with you as you go for a walk around the neighborhood. Your new community might be a perfect fit! 201.315.5250 mobile     |     vince@century21.com

Fri Jan 08 08:04:15 UTC 2016

Let it Snow: Winter Home Maintenance Tips

Posted by: CENTURY 21 Gentry Realtors

Winter can be tough on your home, from the snow and ice forming on the exterior, to heater failures or pipes freezing. Here are some tips for each aspect of your home’s protection so you can keep your family warm all winter long.Heating SystemHeaters and fireplaces are the most important tools to warming your home. Have a professional come and check yours if you think there might be a problem.Some tips for using your heater effectively: Maintain a minimum of 55 degrees in your home, even if you love the cold. In addition, instead of closing off unused rooms to the house like attics or pantries, open the doors to allow heat to flow easily around the entire home.InsulationInsulation is the last line of attack standing between your family and the blustering winds of winter. If your insulation isn’t doing the job, it’s time to inspect and install a more successful layer. If your insulation is in good shape, but you’re still feeling the winter breeze inside, take a caulk gun to the edges on your windows and doors to prevent cold air from getting in.The attic is an important place often overlooked. Aside from leaving the top layer of your house unprotected, heat escaping can easily form ice dams, which can cause leaks. Make sure to protect the attic, even if no one in your family spends time there.PipesAny exposed pipes located in unheated areas of the home — such as garages — should be wrapped with heat tape or insulated before the temperature drops. If your pipes run through walls on the exterior of your home, make sure to double and triple check your insulation. Always be prepared and take precautions to learn how to shut off your pipes just in case freezing occurs.And it’s not just your indoor pipes you need to take care of. Undrained water in your exterior faucets can freeze and cause pipes to burst. Turn off the valve before it gets too cold.LandscapeTrees in your yard with dead branches can become safety hazards in the winter months. Be sure to cut down any branches that hang over your home, or hire someone to remove them for you.It is also important to clear out your gutters before snow falls or ice forms to make sure that melting water drains and doesn’t cause leaks in your siding.SuppliesEquip your home with all of the supplies you need before it gets too cold and snowy. Make sure that you have easy access to snow shovels, or a snow blower, and that your generator is running smoothly. You’ll also want to keep extra fuel for your snow blower on hand in case you run out during the winter months.To ensure an easy (and warm) winter, take the time to prepare your home for the coming months. Winter can be tough, but you don’t have to let the weather ruin your season. Follow these tips to stay cozy from now until spring. 201.315.5250 mobile     |     vince@century21.com

Fri Jan 08 08:00:28 UTC 2016

Post-Holiday Storage Hacks

Posted by: CENTURY 21 Gentry Realtors

With all the excitement of the holidays, you may not have thought about how you’ll store your holiday wares. When the time comes, you may want some help storing your holiday paraphernalia in a way that is both stress-free and efficient. With these storage tips, you could save yourself time and energy while making the transition out of the holiday season as merry as the season itself.Label EverythingYour life could be infinitely easier come next year if you take the time to label your storage units right now. Every single bin and box you stow holiday items in should be tagged with a label detailing its contents and what room those items go in. This may make finding items and decorating in the following years much simpler. It could also help you inventory holiday accoutrements and help determine what items you actually use and which you could live without.Pick a RoomNot all homes are well equipped to store holiday accessories. If your home is one of those where storage space is scarce, be sure to resist the urge to scatter your storage units around the house. There is nothing more frustrating than scouring your home for decorations all housed in different rooms. Deciding on one room to store your holiday items may spare you the trouble of a holiday scavenger hunt next year.Store SafelyDon’t dampen the holidays next year with broken heirlooms and damaged knick-knacks. The plates and dishes that make holiday dinners special are fragile and should be stored somewhere they won’t be disturbed. Other fragile items should be stored on the ground to avoid falling from great heights and breaking, but they also shouldn’t be at the bottom of a pile of other potentially heavy boxes. Also factor in perishable holiday items such as candles, which should be stored somewhere that they won’t overheat and warp over the summer.Tie Up to Avoid TanglesHoliday decorations are decidedly stringy in nature. From garland to strands of lights, these bright and colorful lines help make the holidays festive. You might be so eager to take down holiday lights and other stringed items that you shove them into boxes without thinking about it, only to encounter a tangled mess the following year. Try using zip-ties, rubber bands, and twist ties to neatly contain individual strands of lights or garland before storing them. Then store them in boxes with layered dividers to prevent further tangling.DIY Storage UnitsSometimes traditional boxes, bins, and other storage units don’t fit your holiday storage needs. If there are certain items that seem like they have special storage requirements, find them yourself. For example, an artificial wreath might not fare well in a cardboard box full of other holiday wares, but it would be adequately preserved in a repurposed hat box. Old egg cartons, coffee cans, and garment bags can all be utilized as storage vessels for certain holiday decorations.The holidays may be over, but you can still give yourself the gift of convenient storage and stress-free future holiday decorating. 201.315.5250 mobile     |     vince@century21.com

Fri Jan 08 07:59:03 UTC 2016

4 Common Open House Mistakes Made by Home Buyers

Posted by: CENTURY 21 Gentry Realtors

When you’re looking for your dream home, how do you ensure that you’re getting exactly what you want? One easy way is to stop by open houses in your neighborhood. It’s easy to make a mistake during the complicated open house process, so here are a few things to avoid when attending an open house.Don’t get distracted by the current state of the house.Paint colors, carpets, and cluttered rooms can distract you from the way a home looks. When you enter a home and you don’t initially like the way it is decorated, don’t let it stop you from appreciating the architecture of the house. Ignore what’s inside and imagine it decorated with your furniture and photos.Don’t believe everything you hear.The homeowners you interact with may very well be interested in helping you find the right home, but at the end of the day, do your own research. You wouldn’t buy a used car without a history, so treat your potential new home the same way. Make sure you know everything, from past damage, to potential for any new problems in the future.Don’t forget to ask questions.On that note, make sure that you ask a LOT of questions. Don’t simply walk into a home and sign on the dotted line — that’s not the best way to make a huge investment. Ask questions about everything, from the current condition of the home, to details about the neighborhood. You’ll want to have as much information as you can before you purchase the house.Don’t try to figure it out on your own.Open houses can be confusing, so don’t walk in unprepared. The perfect weapon is having your own CENTURY 21© agent by your side! Agents are trained to attend open houses and see what is going on. They’ll know what to ask and look for even if you don’t.Most importantly, don’t let an open house overwhelm you; it’s meant to be an easy way to see the home you’re interested in. This list can help you take the first steps in preparing yourself for your open house visits and ensure that you find the perfect place for you and your family. 201.315.5250 mobile     |     vince@century21.com

Fri Dec 18 08:38:00 UTC 2015

Star Wars: Which Planet Should You Live On?

Posted by: CENTURY 21 Gentry Realtors

Have you ever imagined yourself wading through the swamps of Dagobah or traversing the lush forests of Endor? The galaxy far, far away has a wide array of settings which has thrilled fans for decades. To celebrate the release of the latest chapter in the Star Wars saga, we’ve devised a quiz that will tell you what Star Wars planet you would fare best on.Which U.S. state has your favorite natural landscape?1. Nevada2. Massachusetts3. Louisiana4. WashingtonWhich activity would you choose?1. Moisture farming2. Defending a Rebel Base3. Jedi training4. Overthrowing the EmpireWho is your ideal neighbor?1. The Skywalkers2. The Rebellion3. Yoda4. EwoksWhich is your ideal vehicle?1. Landspeeder2. Tauntaun3. X-Wing4. Speeder BikeNow it’s time for your results…If you chose more 1s than any other number, you belong on Tatooine! You love the sun and desert sand. A simple life of moisture farming and droid repair would suit you. You also value friendly neighbors, which you’ll have in the Skywalker family. (Just don’t get too attached to them.) If you were hoping for a different planet, be on the lookout for a mysterious old hermit, he might get you off that rock.If you chose more 2s than any other number, you belong on Hoth!You love the winter months and can’t wait to get outside to build snow-Wookies. You also have a sense of duty to defend your homestead from whoever intrudes and aid your neighbors when they need you most. However, don’t wander into any icy caves unsupervised, the local fauna is fierce.If you chose more 3s than any other number, you belong on Dagobah!You love swampy mysticism, and you value your privacy. You prefer your neighbors to be quirky little green guys who have a lot of weird advice. The climate is a little muggy and there isn’t much to do besides fix your waterlogged vehicle, but this planet will make you a stronger person.If you chose more 4s than any other number, you belong on Endor!You prefer a home surrounded by trees and greenery. Your neighbors are adorable, tiny, and fuzzy, but don’t underestimate them. The planet is pretty peaceful, other than the occasional interplanetary war that decides the fate of the galaxy.For entertainment purposes only. 201.315.5250 mobile     |     vince@century21.com

Fri Dec 18 08:36:18 UTC 2015

5 Way to Warm Up Your Open House

Posted by: CENTURY 21 Gentry Realtors

The winter weather is sure to have potential home buyers shivering before they even get to your open house, so it’s crucial to keep your home as warm and as welcoming as possible. Turning up the heat may help, but we have five other ways to create warmth without touching the thermostat.1. Serve hot drinks Provide potential home buyers with a hot beverage when they arrive. Coffee, tea, or hotchocolate can warm their whole body and may make them forget about the harshtemperatures outside. The sweet surprise could make your spot a bit more memorable,too.2. Add warm colored accents Reds, oranges, and yellows are all on the warm end of the color spectrum. We don’trecommend going out and painting the walls any of these colors, but adding a touch of them as accents instead. Think: throw pillows, candles, or decorative vases.3. Open up the drapes Though it’s getting darker earlier, it’s best to soak up all the natural light you can. Keepthe drapes open to let in outdoor light, supplementing with indoor lamps so your place doesn’t appear too dark.4. Lay down throwsAdd some comfy, textured throws to your couch, such as knits or quilts. Thoughpotential buyers might not actually cozy up on your couch with a good book, an enticing blanket hints at the idea.5. Incorporate warm scents We all know that scent is the strongest sense tied to memory. Play on this byinfusing fragrances such as vanilla, cinnamon, and maple into your home. Try lighting a candle near the entranceway… but always remember to use any open flames safely.Keep your open house cozy with these tips and potential buyers may never want to leave! 201.315.5250 mobile     |     vince@century21.com

Fri Dec 18 08:33:13 UTC 2015

How to Stage a Perfect Family Holiday Card

Posted by: CENTURY 21 Gentry Realtors

A family holiday card is a great way to show your friends and family your beautiful home. Between finding the time take the photo and choosing the right setting, mailing the holiday card can be a daunting task. These holiday hints can help make the process much more pleasant.Avoid Matching OutfitsYour family should be dressed in clothes that are of neutral color and similar style, but wearing the exact same outfits hides each family member’s uniqueness. Let their personality shine while still creating a cohesive look.Choose the Right BackdropYour home can provide the perfect setting for your holiday card. You may choose to shoot it outside to capture the weather of the season, in front of your home’s main entryway. Alternatively, you can utilize any well-lit and well-furnished area inside the house, such as in front of the fireplace or Christmas tree.Pick the Right TimeTime of day matters when considering the natural lighting that will make your card shine. The hour before sunset is referred to as the “golden hour” and provides stunning lighting for your card.Clean and PrepOnce you’ve chosen a place and time, prep and check the area before shooting. This includes cleaning, straightening pictures, aligning furniture, and checking for any blemishes that would stand out in the photo.Pose CasuallyYou want your holiday card to seem warm and inviting. Having your family awkwardly pose in unnatural positions can have the opposite effect. Encourage your family to be composed, but casual.Plan for Restless ChildrenThe last thing most children want to do is sit still, smile, and wear clothes they might find uncomfortable. To avoid difficulties be sure to choose a time of day when they’re well rested, fed, and generally complacent. Make them smile with a joke or the promise of a holiday treat.Distract your PetsHoliday cards are a great way to show off a new pet or keep your friends and family updated on the family’s furry friend. Pets, like children, aren’t always eager to be photographed. Have the photographer catch their attention with a treat or one of their toys.The holidays will be here soon enough, so get started on your family’s perfect holiday card to show your relatives and friends. 201.315.5250 mobile     |     vince@century21.com

Fri Dec 18 08:31:55 UTC 2015

Driveway Detective: Tips for Assessing a Driveway When You Buy

Posted by: CENTURY 21 Gentry Realtors

Thought-out floor plans, updated kitchen appliances, and abundant backyard space may be perks you’re searching for when trying to find your dream home, but a seemingly minor aspect may make or break the sale — and it’s right under your feet. An attractive driveway boosts curb appeal and sets the tone for the entire home. You don’t want to come home to a dilapidated driveway every day after work, so here’s what to look out for when making the drive to the big decision.Don’t step on the crack:Cracks and crumbling, sunken areas in a driveway usually mean there are weeds growing underneath. The option of tearing apart and repaving could be in the cards, but wouldn’t you rather spend your money on other household projects?Sharing is caring:…except when you’re sharing a driveway with your neighbor. In some urban neighborhoods, cohabiting the same driving space with dwellers surrounding you is the norm. If you’re not comfortable with constant communication in the early morning hours, perhaps this might not be the right home for you.Keep a watchful eye:A security system in your home is commonplace nowadays. Having a driveway sensor to detect suspicious movement around the entrance of your home would give your entire family an additional sense of safety while you’re at the office or school for the entire day. While more of a perk than a necessity, the luxury of having heightened protection can give the home a desirable edge.A worthy investment:Looks matter in a lot of departments, including your driveway. Gravel driveways are economically easy to make and maintain, while a timeless cobblestone path gives the home upscale undertones. Attractive paths tend to lead towards more impressive interiors, so the bar is already set high from the moment you park the car.Keep these tips in mind when you go to your next open house — they may make all the difference! 201.315.5250 mobile     |     vince@century21.com

Fri Dec 04 07:12:51 UTC 2015

8 Fire Safety Tips 8 Nights of Hanukkah

Posted by: CENTURY 21 Gentry Realtors

If you and your family celebrate Hanukkah, this week will involve lighting the menorah. But in all the holiday fun, it’s easy to forget that having an open flame in your home is always cause for greater safety measures. Here are some tips for a safer holiday.Place your menorah on a sturdy, non-flammable surface: Your menorah, especially when lit, should rest on a stable fixture in your home. You and your family’s guests may accidentally bump into a wobbly table and knock it over. Non-flammable surfaces like glass, metal, or marble work best.Keep the menorah and matches out of children’s reach: Make sure that your menorah is positioned in a place where your children can enjoy it, but is out of their reach so they don’t hurt themselves. Be sure to store all matches and lighters safely after each candle lighting; kids may find them if left out.Never leave a lit menorah unattended: All the excitement of the holidays can sometimes lead to carelessness. When burning, the menorah should always be under some sort of supervision.Place menorah out of reach of pets: Furry friends are eager to join in on the holiday festivities. They could be drawn to the new object in your home and want to investigate, so keep it at a height where they can’t get their paws on it.Use only non-flammable menorahs: This may seem like an obvious tip, but it’s worth reiterating. Any ornamental menorahs made by your kids in arts and crafts should be admired, but not used in your Hanukkah ceremony.Don’t walk around with lit candles: Choose the area of your home where your menorah will be lit, then keep it there. Don’t carry your menorah from room to room to avoid potentially dropping it.Decorate with care: The area surrounding your menorah often receives extra decorations. That is absolutely fine, as long the adornments are non-flammable and not likely to tip over and displace the menorah.Place your menorah in a secluded area of your home: You’re already going to put your menorah out of reach of children and pets, but it’s equally important to keep the menorah out of your home’s general flow of traffic to avoid accidentally knocking it over. Following these helpful fire safety tips will ensure that you and your family have a pleasant and safe Hanukkah celebration. 201.315.5250 mobile     |     vince@century21.com

Fri Dec 04 07:11:03 UTC 2015

DIY: Holiday Card Display Wreath

Posted by: CENTURY 21 Gentry Realtors

With a flood of holiday cards now filling your mailbox, it can be difficult to find enough space to display them all. Within a week, the mantel is full and you’re left looking for other options to prevent any one place from looking too crowded. To solve that problem, we’ve created a simple DIY card wreath that will help you find a home for this season’s batch of festive greetings. The simple, neutral style of this display should match many different decor styles, from modern to rustic, and it will be exciting to pull out of the attic year after year!What You’ll NeedIf you don’t already have the supplies for this project lying around the house, you can easily find them at your local craft store. Gather these items to get started: A large hoop (pictured is an 18” quilt hoop) Felt (Choose shades of green for a natural look, or try experimenting with unexpected but still festive hues like vibrant red or gold.) Scissors Glue Small pompoms (We used white pompoms for a mistletoe look, but red or metallic pompoms are fun as well.) Twine Thumbtacks Tiny clothespins How to Make ItStep 1: Begin by making your leaves. You can freehand these onto the felt with a permanent marker before cutting, or practice them on paper first. The wreath in the picture has one long branch (going down the left side), two medium branches (one layered on each side), two small branches (one layered on each side) and one middle piece to cover the gaps between felt layers. Test the size and placement of each felt piece as you go to figure out what you like best.Step 2: Glue your leaves in place and allow them to dry according to your adhesive’s instructions.Step 3: After the glue has dried, lay out your twine and cards to decide on their placement. Since holiday cards come in a lot of different shapes and sizes these days, many combinations will be possible. Once you’ve decided where your twine will need to go, attach it to the back of the hoop either with thumbtacks (which will push the wreath away from the wall, creating depth) or staples. You may want to glue or fasten the twine where it runs along the hoop to keep it from view, but that’s up to you.Step 4: Next, flip your hoop back over and glue the pompoms on the “leaves.” Keep the arrangement fairly random to resemble to natural, organic look of berries. As a bonus, these can be helpful for covering any odd gaps between the leaves if that’s necessary.Step 5: Now find the perfect spot to hang your new wreath. We chose to hang ours over the fireplace, but the foyer, kitchen and dining room are all possibilities—just think about where you’re likely to enjoy it the most! You can attach it to the wall using a simple nail or any other picture-hanging supplies.Step 6: Choose a handful of your favorite cards, then attach them to the twine with the mini clothespins. Remember: Your arrangement doesn’t have to stay the same all season. Have fun swapping out the older cards for new ones as they arrive in your mailbox so that you always have a fresh collection of smiling faces greeting you and your family!About the Author:Julia Marchand is a DIY and home design expert for Shutterfly. She lives in New Hampshire, where she grew up, with her husband and year-old son. Julia loves all things vintage and spends her time sewing, reading and crafting. Follow Julia on Twitter to find out what adorable holiday idea she comes up with next! 201.315.5250 mobile     |     vince@century21.com

Fri Dec 04 07:09:10 UTC 2015

4 Secrets to Going Green This Winter

Posted by: CENTURY 21 Gentry Realtors

As cool autumn days are quickly replaced by much colder nights, is your home prepared for the seasonal changes? Heat up your home (and your family) this winter while still saving two types of green—your money and the environment—with these four tips. Plug up drafts. Invest in cost-effective insulation. Block small gaps and cracks with rope caulk or spray foam to prevent drafts, and close up the flue damper whenever you’re not canoodling next to a roaring fireplace. Also, remember to create a tight seal around vulnerable doors and windows with self-adhesive backing. Keeping heat sealed in your home prevents additional adjustments to the thermostat, so you may save an average of $200 in heating costs a year. Think about water. Even juggernauts like water heaters need to keep warm. Energy loss through the heater’s walls rapidly add up, so throw an insulating jacket over it. You may cut heat loss by half! If you don’t need scalding hot showers, change the water temperature to a setting of 120°F during weekdays to keep your bills and energy waste down all season. Touch that dial. Outdated thermostats don’t have the personalized capabilities of today’s models. Install a modern version, and with the tap of a few buttons, you can program your thermostat to turn off while you’re not home. WiFi-enabled thermostats even allow you to schedule times to crank the heat up with a few swipes. Thoughtful adjustments like this could help you save around 12% on your energy bill each month. Let the sun shine. Snowy grounds may make you shiver, but that doesn’t stop the sun. Adhere reflective window film and the sun’s rays may bounce heat back into your homes, reducing the need to crank up the thermostat. Need an extra cover to keep your family warm? Pick up some cellular shades to insulate windows from the brisk cold. Don’t wait until you’re too cold to make these changes! Start with these simple changes today to plan for a green winter ahead. 201.315.5250 mobile     |     vince@century21.com

Fri Nov 20 07:11:55 UTC 2015

The Hunger Games: Real Estate Listings the Districts Deserve

Posted by: CENTURY 21 Gentry Realtors

Unlike the glammed-out Capitol, the 13 districts of Panem are in less-than-desirable conditions. As we watch them fight for freedom in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2, we hope they’ll have a home sweet home waiting for their return. Here are some real estate listings that the residents of the districts deserve.District 4: Beautiful Beach HouseSince this district resides on the coastal regions of Panem, its people love the commodity they produce: seafood. As skilled swimmers who know their way around a fishing net, they deserve a home as adapted to the water as they are. Standing on stilts, this house allows them to feel immersed in the sea while staying safely above the waves.District 7: Luxurious Log CabinTucked away in the woods, District 7 is a key producer of lumber. All that time spent in the forest with various wood cutters must pay off in quality crafting abilities, which no doubt should be reflected in their abodes. A stylized yet cozy home like this lux cabin will make them feel at one with nature while still keeping them warm during the snowier winters.District 10: Quaint Country CottageDistrict 10 rests on acres of farmland, which they use to raise cattle for the meat-eaters of their country. Livestock work is grueling, so these residents could use a no-frills place to relax. With a large kitchen to support home-cooked family dinners, this down-to-earth rural home provides all that a farmer could ask for.District 11: Sprawling Southern HomeHome to plentiful orchards and fields, District 11 provides Panem with a majority of its agriculture. Since their days are spent among the peach trees and wheat fields, wouldn’t it be nice if they could cool off with some lemonade on a lengthy, shaded porch? This home is breezy and beautiful, with room to spare for entertaining out of town guests.In a perfect world, the districts would already enjoy the same home comforts as those in the Capitol do. Until then, may the odds be ever in their favor.  201.315.5250 mobile     |     vince@century21.com

Tue Nov 17 08:26:32 UTC 2015

How to Baby Proof for The Holidays

Posted by: CENTURY 21 Gentry Realtors

If you’ve got a little one this holiday season, don’t make the mistake of being unprepared. This time of year brings about unique potential dangers for him or her that you might not have considered. Follow these five tips on how to baby proof your home for the holidays. Skip the tablecloth. Infants are known to be grabby, and the hanging end of a tablecloth is too tempting to resist. In one quick tug, your tyke could accidentally pull down the entire dinner table setting, including your dishes, silverware, and candles. Yikes! Keep flowers out of reach. Contrary to popular belief, poinsettias aren’t actually poisonous, but there’s still no reason for your child to ingest them. Keep all plants out of reach. They’re not food, and you never know which one may make a particular individual sick. Don’t wrap with ribbons. Stick to wrapping paper only when giving gifts. Leftover ribbons can easily fall on the ground, presenting a choking hazard for you baby. Additional tip: Gather up and throw away wrapping paper as soon as it’s discarded. Again, you never know what your child might put in their mouth. Secure your tree. Fasten your tree to the wall and consider blocking off the area with a baby gate because after all, the tree is for looking, not for touching. If you want to bring your baby closer, do so under strict supervision, and don’t let them tug on any branches. Hang ornaments higher. Hang all ornaments out of reach on the top half of the tree, just in case your tot does get closer to the tree. Smooth, shiny decorations will be sure to attract their attention, and all too many are easily breakable. If you feel like your tree is a bit bare, opt for paper or felt ornaments on the lower half. These simple changes to your holiday decorating routine may make for a safer celebration for your newest family member. 201.315.5250 mobile     |     vince@century21.com

Tue Nov 17 08:25:18 UTC 2015

5 Fantasty Homes for the Football Fan

Posted by: CENTURY 21 Gentry Realtors

Autumn may have foliage, Halloween hauntings, and pumpkin spiced everything, but one thing dominates the minds of the most dedicated sports fans: football season. Chances are you’re not going to leave the house on Sundays between now and the Super Bowl, so you might as well cozy up in a nook that reflects your passion for your fantasy football team and admiration for eating hot wings in sweatpants. Here are some must-haves for the ultimate baller’s crib.Crawl into the Man CaveYour wife wouldn’t be a huge fan of the entire home being a giant shrine to your favorite team, but one dedicated room will easily become your favorite in the entire house. Some must-haves for your dream man cave might include at least two flat-screen TVs no less than 60 inches so you can catch every bit of action from every game, a sound system that’s all about the bass, sound installation to noise-proof the space outside of the cavernous doors, a floor-to-ceiling wall mural of the home team, and theatre-style recliners where you can kick up your feet and sink into the seat.The Ultimate BarDrinking Budweiser might be okay for Game Day, but you’re not one to settle for a run-of-the-mill six-pack. Upgrade your bar area to include leather stools, a sleek bar top, and a fully-packed fridge that includes your quintessential hops and IPAs. Don’t forget about the liquor cabinet; always have the right ingredients (or perhaps an engraved cocktail shaker) for your signature martini or weekly Make-Your-Own-Bloody-Mary Bar.XXL BackyardWhen you’re not busy watching or analyzing football, you’re probably playing football before the game with your bros. Having an extra spacious yard saves you a trip to the local park—and also the embarrassment of having strangers watch you practice your touchdown dance. Wrapping up the game with an impromptu tailgate on your wooden deck is the ideal way to unwind after getting down and dirty on the green.A Bar-Centric KitchenYour doctor recommends being healthy six days out of the week so you can splurge on Football Sunday. Having the ultimate buffet set up on a spacious kitchen island gives you enough room to spread out the mountain of hot wings and seven-layer nacho dip you’re planning on sinking your teeth into by the end of the first quarter. Getting pizza delivered from Domino’s is a decent standby for newbies, but wouldn’t a pizza oven make your slices that much better? If you don’t have space in the house for one, setting one up in the backyard is a good alternative.Game Room for Game DayYou’re never too old to have game nights with your buds. A room solely filled with the works—a billiards-style pool table and a foosball court, a curated jukebox with nothing but the hits, darts in one corner and a Pac-Man arcade machine in another, a poker table for weekly Blackjack, an Xbox and PS4 (or a Super Nintendo if you want to go retro) hooked up to a massive flat-screen, and a cabinet filled with addictive faves like Cards Against Humanity and Monopoly—will keep you and your crew occupied for days. 201.315.5250 mobile     |     vince@century21.com

Tue Nov 17 08:22:56 UTC 2015

Cleaning Hacks to Help Prevent the Flu

Posted by: CENTURY 21 Gentry Realtors

With the cinnamon-flavored joys of this season come another set of not so pleasant activities. Coughs, sneezes, and stuffy noses are sure to come as the weather cools down and brings the flu season upon us. However, there’s hope. Keeping clean may prevent transmission of the flu, so we’ve provided hacks that may protect you and your family.Sanitize surfacesWhen multiple people come into contact with the same surfaces, they run the risk of spreading and contracting germs. Find common areas that your family uses and disinfect them often. Obvious places include the kitchen counter, bathroom sink, and toilet, but don’t forget about spots in the rest of the house. Home offices and staircase railings get a lot of action, too.Launder linensWhen you reuse towels and sheets, you’re reintroducing yourself to germs that might have accumulated there. During flu season, it’s more important than ever to keep these items fresh. Linens, especially ones that you use on your face like pillowcases or bath towels, should be washed more often in a hot water cycle.Cut out carriersCertain items in your home are more likely to accumulate bacteria, which can turn them into potential carriers. These items include (but aren’t limited to) the one listed below. sponges toothbrushes bathroom sink handles dish towels welcome mats TV remotes cell phones Replace the items you can like sponges and toothbrushes, and be sure to wash or wipe down the others.Don’t wait until you see symptoms to start cleaning. Prevention is key, and by avoiding the flu you can save your sick days for a “stay at home, cuddled in blankets” day, instead. 201.315.5250 mobile     |     vince@century21.com

Tue Nov 03 09:26:01 UTC 2015

How To Stage Your House Over the Holidays

Posted by: CENTURY 21 Gentry Realtors

Selling your home during the holidays doesn’t mean you have to hold back on the festivities. Let your home shine while attracting buyers during the most wonderful time of the year with these seasonal touches.Deck the halls:Don’t let selling your home stop you from spreading the holiday cheer. Subtle hints like a welcoming evergreen wreath at the front door, mulled cider brewing on the stovetop or hand-sewn stockings hanging from the fireplace awning gives the space a jolt of spirit.Trim the tree:Usually the most eye-catching piece of the living room during the holiday season, make sure your spruced-up Christmas tree matches the aesthetic you want to sell to potential buyers. If your living room has a clean-cut scheme with ivories and whites, for example, make sure your baubles fall under the same color palette.Tone it down:As tempting as it is to blow some lawn ornaments to celebrate the season, it’s best to go for a minimalist approach during this crucial selling time. Neatly highlight the defining elements of your home’s exterior with snow white lights or hang fresh garland with bright red bows from your rooftop or mailbox.Warm up:Before open houses, make sure your home feel as cozy as possible. Now’s the perfect time to light a fire in your fireplace and warm up your home. If your home is lacking the fiery centerpiece, turning up the thermostat to a comfortably toasty level gives potential buyers extra incentive to linger for a while to escape the brutal cold outside—and allows them to fully digest the best qualities of your home.Tune up:Fill up the hallways with contemporary holiday classics while potential buyers are roaming the halls. Make a mix of festive favorites: go old-school with Frank Sinatra’s “White Christmas” or Natalie Cole’s take on “The Christmas Song”…or just play Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas (Is You)” on a loop.Feed the masses:The best way to make somebody feel at home—potentially at their future home—is through their stomach. Whip up some holiday-themed cookies and mocktails to serve during your open house; the extra hint of hospitality will keep you in the mind of prospective buyers even after the last present is unwrapped during the holidays. 201.315.5250 mobile     |     vince@century21.com

Tue Nov 03 09:25:02 UTC 2015

Be My Guest: How to Get Your Home Guest-Ready in 15 Minutes

Posted by: CENTURY 21 Gentry Realtors

Anticipating some last-minute company? While you may not have time to scrub down the house, some simple tricks of the trade will make it look like you did. Prepare your home for the unexpected—even if the unexpected is your mother-in-law inviting herself over for dinner.Take a whiff:Burning a few candles around the abode will not only brighten up the space, but it will also upgrade the usual aromas of your home. Light up a rich Mahogany Teakwood in the den, or perhaps indulge your guests’ senses with a fresh Vanilla Bean scent in the kitchen.Pillow talk:Upgrade your low-key loveseats and couches with hints of color. Take decorative pillows and throws out of the closet and add them as accents to the coziest spots. Be sure to fluff them, and then watch as everyone sits back and relaxes.Reduce, reduce, reduce:Having a magazine or book at arms’ reach in every room may be convenient, but there are stylish ways to hide them away. Minimize your reading materials clutter by stashing them in a basket or bin. It instantly improves the ambiance of your living space.Show off your green thumb:Pick out a simple bouquet from your garden and proudly display it on the dinner table. Also, swap out the run-of-the-mill vase with an empty wine bottle to highlight your creativity and charming style.Feng shui the space:If you haven’t moved your couch since it was first delivered, now’s the perfect chance to rearrange and harmonize the room. Even the simple act of angling your furniture a few inches can make each living space look brand new.Throw it down:Every room needs an anchor—and for those who are missing one, a bright throw rug brings the space together. 201.315.5250 mobile     |     vince@century21.com

Tue Oct 27 09:48:55 UTC 2015

5 Creative Ways to Decorate Your Home for Halloween

Posted by: CENTURY 21 Gentry Realtors

Goblins and witches and ghosts, oh my! How many of these ghoulish creatures will you be greeting this Halloween? Hopefully you’ll have the candy and creepy (but cute) ambiance to avoid the “trick” end of “trick-or-treat!” If you haven’t yet decorated for the holiday, don’t worry. Here are five easy ideas for a “spook-tacular” home.Eerie EntrancewayPaint black jack-o-lantern faces on small, glass votives. Drop a flameless tealight candle in each of them and use them to decorate around your front door. Frightening FloralsBlack calla lilies have a wonderful dark, purply color. Plant some in flower pots around your home for a gloomy look with an exotic twist. Raven’s Nest WreathRemember last year when you weren’t as prepared for Halloween? Nevermore. Grab a twig wreath from your local craft store and place a faux black bird in the middle. Black Cat PumpkinsPaint two pumpkins, one smaller and one larger, all black. Stack the smaller one on top of the other, and add eyes, a nose, and whiskers. Add cat ears cut from card stock and stand back! You won’t want these bad boys crossing your path. Mummified GlasswareWhether you’re serving up a glass of pumpkin flavored punch or a dish of fun sized candy bars, dress up your glassware to match the mood. Tape gauze to the bottom of the cup and wrap upwards, tucking in an end piece at the top to secure it. With decorations like these, you just might have trick-or-treaters flocking to your home—if they’re not too scared, that is! 201.315.5250 mobile     |     vince@century21.com

Fri Oct 23 07:39:28 UTC 2015

Home Seller Secrets: 5 Innovative Ways to Market Your Home

Posted by: CENTURY 21 Gentry Realtors

Don’t let the dream of selling your home quickly and efficiently be deflated with a pile of worries. Remember a few tips that will may make the process easier.Say cheese:Professionally photographed homes may garner more attention from buyers as they decide which properties to visit in person. Hire a photographer to make your home look clean and bright. If hiring someone isn’t in your budget, use a high-quality DSLR camera, and take pictures when it’s sunny and mid-day, maximizing the light exposure.Fix up, look sharp:One should never judge a book by its cover—except in the case of buying a house. Take advantage of this time selling your home by sprucing it up. Move furniture closer to the walls (about an inch). This displays the maximum amount of space your rooms have to offer. Power-wash the exterior of your home—including the backyard space—to give the outer layers new life. Declutter closets, laundry rooms, and other storage spaces. Again, it’s important to show off the amount of storage you have. If you build it, they will come:Hosting a website with builders like Squarespace and Wix.com is relatively cheap, plus the process of building it is rather straightforward. Since you’re in full control of what you what to exhibit, you can highlight the aspects of your home that would draw in your dream buyer. Stone-paved driveway? A spacious oak terrace in the backyard? Marble counters in the kitchen and bathroom? Show it off!Believe in signs:In addition to using digital tools, a traditional sign on the front lawn may catch the attention of buyers who are already browsing the neighborhood.Make the open house count:Your open house may be your most important deciding factor for buyers. Therefore, be sure to follow thisopen house checklist and to avoid these staging mistakes. 201.315.5250 mobile     |     vince@century21.com

Fri Oct 23 07:38:07 UTC 2015

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Different Types of Homes

Posted by: CENTURY 21 Gentry Realtors

Wouldn’t it be nice if homes came as “one size fits all” to save you from the decision-making process? Unfortunately, you can’t try on different living spaces as you would jeans or shoes. To help out, we’ve created a list of the advantages and disadvantages of different homes.Apartment or CondoAn apartment or condo is one unit of a larger building. The difference between them is that you rent the former and buy the latter. Deciding which option is better for you is an entirely other conversation — check out our renting vs. buying calculator for more. Regardless, both options offer some pros and cons regarding physical living space.Advantages:– Maintenance and repairs are covered.– Utility bills can be lower because you may not be responsible for heat or water.– Amenities, such as security and fitness centers, may be included.Disadvantages:– Privacy isn’t promised — sounds can travel through walls, floors, and ceilings.– Parking can be a hassle if the building doesn’t have a designated garage.– Space is limited, and a yard will be communal if it exists at all.TownhouseA townhouse is a house connected to others in a row, usually with space for a small front lawn or backyard.Advantages:– Communities are tight knit due to close quarters.– Home Owners Association (HOA) covers maintenance through their membership fee.– Prices are typically lower than standalone units.Disadvantages:– Renovations need approval from the HOA.– Some walls are shared with neighbors, which decreases privacy.– Space is limited, though more available than when in an apartment.Detached HouseA detached house is a single structure with its surrounding property, though it can vary in terms of architecture, size, and location.Advantages:– Privacy, space, and independence are at a maximum.– Value usually increases over time, making a house’s purchase more like an investment.– Storage space allows for more material possessions, whether for hobbies or bulk buys.Disadvantages:– Maintenance can be costly and time-consuming.– Cleaning is a bigger job.– Prices may be higher than other types of homes.Compare your family’s needs to what’s here and you may be able to find your perfect fit! 201.315.5250 mobile     |     vince@century21.com

Fri Oct 16 07:13:19 UTC 2015

9 Way to Brighten a Dark Home

Posted by: CENTURY 21 Gentry Realtors

Your new home is in the perfect neighborhood and the price is right, yet there’s one thing that almost held you back from purchasing: the lighting (or, rather, lack thereof). Beat the basement blues by brightening your home with mirrors, paint and the right kind of custom decor. Here’s how to get started.1. Paint it white! When it comes right down to it, other than adding more windows (which can be costly when you’re on a homebuyer’s budget), the best thing you can do to brighten a space is to ditch the dark colors and layer lighter hues instead. White will be the best to illuminate your surroundings, but any color on the soft end of the spectrum will do.2. Although walls will make the most impact, choosing white for smaller decorative elements and flooring will brighten the room even more. If white walls sound boring to you, maybe the answer is hanging large-scale well-lit photos. This is an easy way to add luster, and pieces like these from Shutterfly will look stunning against colorful walls. Customized family photos also lighten the mood of the room by adding joy and personality. Make sure, though, that they are also framed and matted with white so no part of the piece contributes to the gloom.3. Cover dark floors with light-colored throw rugs. Just keep in mind that white carpet can get stained easily, so read reviews before buying and take your shoes off at the door.4. Mirrors bounce around what little light you do have. They also make rooms look bigger and more open, combatting the cave-like feeling of a dark room. Including decor that has a bit of shine will create this same effect on a smaller scale.5. Choose lightweight furniture with clean lines. Overstuffed couches will make the atmosphere feel heavy, so elevate the environment by creating a lighter (thus, brighter) illusion with Lucite or slim furnishings made from pale-colored wood.6. Play up any windows by raising the curtain rods and choosing airy, white curtains. This will make your windows look bigger and create a glow that bounces between your walls.7. Make sure light bulbs give a white instead of yellow radiance. You’ll be surprised how much of a difference this can make!8. Minimize clutter and keep your space clean. Pare down to the essentials to lighten the space, decrease shadowy corners and allow for an easy flow between rooms. Hide bulky jackets and shoes somewhere out of sight.9. Vary your light sources with lamps, recessed lighting, pendants, and more so it isn’t as obvious that your light is artificial.With these simple suggestions you will hopefully be able to turn a dreary dungeon into a fresh, cheerful home. Of course, you should always feel free to incorporate your own bright ideas!By Julia MarchandAbout Julia:Julia Marchand is a home décor and DIY blogger for Shutterfly, where she shares her expertise and experiences on life as a new mommy and first-time homeowner. Julia describes herself as a vintage-loving gal who spends her free time sewing, crafting and reading in her quiet New England home. Follow Julia on her Twitter to discover more home décor tips & tutorials. 201.315.5250 mobile     |     vince@century21.com