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Melinda O'Donnell

Broker Associate

Newsletter

FIVE MONEY-SAVING GREEN UPGRADES

2/13/2018

 

Going green is great for the environment, but that’s not the only benefit. When you make green upgrades in your home, it can also lead to some major savings.

 1. Solar panels: The upfront cost is big, but the long-term savings are huge. Solar panels will cost several thousand dollars to install, but ongoing maintenance costs are very low, and a typical system could save you hundreds of dollars per year. You can even sell your surplus electricity.

 2. Wood furnace: Wood-burning furnaces are relatively inexpensive, and though the yearly savings aren’t as dramatic (about 10% on heating bills), it adds up over the long run.

 3. Insulation: There’s a good chance your insulation isn’t very efficient, especially in older homes. Look into installing floor, cavity, wall, and loft insulation to reduce your heating bills.

 4. Rain barrels: Rain barrels are extremely inexpensive, and provide gallons of free water to use when you wash your car or water your garden.

 5. Geothermal system: OK, so the price tag is scary at first. A geothermal system uses the earth’s temperature to heat and cool your home, but can cost $30,000 to install. But tax credits allow you to get a lot of that money back, and the energy savings average about $1,900 per year. If you plan to be in your home for a decade or two, it’s a great investment.

 

For more information and/or Free CMA, please feel free to contact me.

Melinda O'Donnell
1740 Chapel Hills Dr
Colorado Springs, CO 80920

PRIORITY TASKS FOR YOUR MOVE IN

2/12/2018

 

Moving into a new home is an exciting time, and you’re probably daydreaming about decor and paint schemes and new furniture. But before you get into the fun stuff, there are some basics you should cover first.

Change the locks
Even if you’re promised that new locks have been installed in your home, you can never be too careful. It’s worth the money to have the peace of mind that comes with knowing that no one else has the keys to your home. Changing the locks can be a DIY project, or you can call in a locksmith for a little extra money.

Steam clean the carpets
It’s good to get a fresh start with your floors before you start decorating. The previous owners may have had pets, young children, or just some plain old clumsiness. Take the time to steam clean the carpets so that your floors are free of stains and allergens. It’s pretty easy and affordable to rent a steam cleaner—your local grocery store may have them available.

Call an exterminator
Prior to move-in, you probably haven’t spent enough time in the house to get a view of any pests that may be lurking. Call an exterminator to take care of any mice, insects, and other critters that may be hiding in your home.

Clean out the kitchen
If the previous occupants wanted to skip on some of their cleaning duties when they moved out, the kitchen is where they probably cut corners. Wipe down the inside of cabinets, clean out the refrigerator, clean the oven, and clean in the nooks and crannies underneath the appliances.

 

For more information and/or Free CMA, please feel free to contact me.

Melinda O'Donnell
1740 Chapel Hills Dr
Colorado Springs, CO 80920
Phone: (719) 896-6856

 

 

FIVE PLACES TO INSPECT IN YOUR HOME

2/11/2018

 

Our homes require regular maintenance, both to protect our personal safety and to avoid costly repairs. Here are five of the most important items you should check in your home.

 1. The fire extinguisher: It’s recommended that you keep at least one fire extinguisher on every floor. You should also keep one in the garage and in the basement.

 2. Staircases and banisters: A loose railing or banister could spell disaster. Regularly check your stairs and the accompanying railings to make sure they’re secure.b

 3. Smoke detectors: Be diligent about testing your smoke alarms (and carbon monoxide detectors) and replacing batteries. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, smoke detectors should be tested at least once a month, and batteries should be replaced at least twice a year. A good rule of thumb is to change the batteries when you adjust your clocks for daylight savings.

 4. Electrical outlets: Outlets in kitchens and bathrooms should have a “test” button. It’s part of a system that prevents electrocution. Plug in a hair dryer, and push the “test” button—the hair dryer should turn off right away.

 5. Water quality: If you’ve never tested your water for harmful contaminants, you can purchase a kit to test it yourself, or hire a professional.

 

For more information and/or Free CMA, please feel free to contact me.

Melinda O'Donnell
1740 Chapel Hills Dr
Colorado Springs, CO 80920
Phone: (719) 896-6856

HOW MUCH MORTGAGE CAN YOU AFFORD?

2/10/2018

 

Buying a home is a big decision. Since it is something most people do not do too many times in their lives, it might be difficult to know exactly how much of a mortgage one can afford. Here are three easy steps to help you figure out how much of a mortgage you can handle without going broke in the process.

Create a Budget Your first step is to create a budget so you can easily see how much money you have coming in compared to your expenses. Be sure to include both short-term and long-term investments and other savings. Make sure you have at least six-months worth of mortgage payment sin your short-term savings in case you experiences and unexpected financial setback.

Account for Increased Expenses When you buy a home some of your expenses will increase and you will also have some new expenses that you have not had to worry about previously. You will need money for homeowner’s insurance, property taxes, utilities and possibly association dues on top of your mortgage payment.

Determine Your Optimal Mortgage Payment Your budget will spell out exactly how much money you have left over to pay your mortgage. If you cannot afford the mortgage payment you want to have, you will adjust some of your budget items. For example, you can look for ways to lower your car insurance costs or take a less expensive vacation.

Buying a home is exciting. But, you must be fiscally responsible about it. Before you jump into the home-buying process, have a plan, do your homework, and act wisely.

 

For more information and/or Free CMA, please feel free to contact me.

Melinda O'Donnell
1740 Chapel Hills Dr
Colorado Springs, CO 80920
Phone: (719) 896-6856

5 Unbelievably Simple DIY Home Fixes

2/8/2018

 

5 Unbelievably Simple DIY Home Fixes

Is tackling that growing list of home repairs one of your New Year’s resolutions? Use these five do-it-yourself home repair tricks to start your year off on the right foot.

  1. Stop a toilet from running. Unhook the flapper chain from the plunger arm and slide a plastic drinking straw over the chain. Cut it to size if necessary and reattach. You’ll never hear that tank running again.
  2. Remove carpet dents left by furniture. Dampen furniture dents with a wet rag, apply heat with a blow dryer and coax the fibers back into place using the lip of a spoon. Let dry and repeat as necessary until those divots are gone.
  3. Keep that cupboard door closed. Pick up a magnetic cupboard latch; most come with screws already. Use a power drill to screw the magnet to the edge of the cupboard opening and the plate to the matching corner of the cupboard door.
  4. Get your shower head running like new. Mix equal parts white vinegar and water in a large plastic freezer bag and attach it to the shower pipe with a sturdy rubber band. Remove and check the flow every 20 minutes. You don’t even have to remove the head!
  5. Breathe new life into old wood. Pick up a package of wood stain markers in assorted shades and transform your door jambs, baseboards, bannisters, furniture and more. Start a shade lighter and go darker if needed and watch scratches.

 

For more information and/or Free CMA, please feel free to contact me.

Melinda O'Donnell
1740 Chapel Hills Dr
Colorado Springs, CO 80920
Phone: (719) 896-6856

Pikes Peak Region Market Report

10/23/2017

The 4 Biggest Mold Myths and Scare Tactics

8/19/2017

 

 

Mold is everywhere. According to the CDC, "There is always a little mold everywhere - in the air and on many surfaces." So the presence of mold does not always mean there is a hazardous condition.

When you suspect mold to be a problem in your home or business, you are faced with a lot of questions.  With all of the misinformation out there about mold, it is sometimes difficult to tell what is fact and what is just simply fear mongering.

To help you understand the difference between the two, we have assembled the top 4 mold myths and provided the facts for each. 

Myth #1 – Mold is directly responsible for many deaths

Unfortunately, myth #1 is one of the most perpetuated falsehoods in the mold removal industry. Those who propagate the mold conspiracy grab a hold of anything where mold is mentioned and exploit that point as another instance which validates their belief, gives them story or improves their bottom line. Mold can have an impact on respiratory health when it is airborne, however it is difficult to find any instance where mold was directly responsible for the death of an individual.

Myth #2 – Black mold is the most dangerous mold

Believe it or not, there is no such thing, scientifically, as “black mold”. Again, a term perpetuated by some in the industry, "black mold" has become synonymous with dangerous or "toxic mold" instilling fear into the public. While there is certainly mold that is black in color, this does not identify a specific mold that is inherently dangerous. Stachybotrys is one mold that is commonly referred to when speaking of black mold. Even with its reputation, Stachybotrys is not toxic or poisonous (see myth #3).

Myth #3 – There are specific types of toxic mold

It has often been perpetuated that when you see mold, you must be extremely cautious because it might be "toxic". The National Center for Disease Control addresses this myth when they state, "The term toxic mold is not accurate. While certain molds are toxigenic, meaning they can produce toxins or more specifically mycotoxins, the molds themselves are not toxic or poisonous. Hazards presented by molds that may produce mycotoxins should be considered the same as other common mold which can grow in your house. There is always a little mold everywhere -in the air and on many surfaces."*

Myth #4 – You must identify each mold type to deal with the problem

We often hear that we need to test for certain types of mold. The only time that this is true is when someone has been diagnosed as allergic to specific molds by an Allergist. Since most people are not diagnosed as allergic to specific molds, identifying each specific mold is a waste of time and money.

Two important statements from the National Center for Disease Control dispel this myth:*

  1. "We do not believe that one needs to take any different precautions with Stachybotrys than with other molds."
  2. "It is not necessary to determine what type of mold you may have. All mold should be treated the same with respect to potential health risks and removal.”

 

Soure: Integrity Air Quality http://4moldmyths.integrityaq.com/

HIDDEN HOMEOWNER COSTS

8/17/2017

 

Budgeting for buying a home can be difficult enough when you're just weighing mortgage options and a purchase price. But there are many other factors that go into the cost of home ownership. Some of them are one-time expenses that you'll pay during the home buying process, while others will be recurring costs for as long as you own the home.

Closing costs

There are several smaller fees that add up to a rather large sum when you're going through the closing process-loan fees, attorney fees, underwriting fees, and more. They typically add up to 2-5% of the purchase price. For a $300,000 home-roughly the national median-that's in the neighborhood of $10,000, so be sure to budget for it.

Appraisal

Your lender will require an appraisal, and the appraisal fee (a few hundred dollars) comes out of your pocket. Inspection

The few hundred dollars you'll pay for a home inspection is money well spent, but it's something you have to keep in mind during the purchase process. You'll have the peace of mind of knowing the house is free from any major issues, and you're making a smart, solid investment.

Insurance

Although homeowners insurance isn't legally required, it'll almost certainly be required by your lender. Further insurance, such as flood insurance, may also be required (depending on your location).

Home Owners Association

If you're living in a property or community with shared spaces, you'll almost certainly have an HOA fee. This pays for things like trash removal, maintenance of common areas, and for recreational facilities like gyms and swimming pools.

 

For more information and/or Free CMA, please feel free to contact me.

Melinda O'Donnell
1740 Chapel Hills Dr
Colorado Springs, CO 80920
Phone: (719) 896-6856

RECONSIDER THESE CHOICES WHEN YOU’RE DESIGNING YOUR KITCHEN

8/14/2017

 

 

The kitchen is one area of the home that sees the most wear and tear. All the water, heat, and food spills add up quickly so it’s important to focus on quality and lasting appeal when you’re choosing materials for a kitchen remodel. Here are a few things you should avoid:

Cheap Laminate Countertops: The bottom rung of laminate is extremely susceptible to wear and tear. It can melt if you forget to place a hot pad under a pan that’s fresh out of the oven and the edges can chip off from repeated exposure to moisture and heat.

Flat Paint: A flat or matte finish is great in rooms with lower traffic, but it’s a bad idea in the kitchen where the walls are regularly exposed to splatters and spills. You need paint that can withstand an occasional heavy scrubbing, so opt for gloss or semi-gloss finishes.

Trendy Backsplash: If you watch any home remodeling show, you’ll certainly see kitchens with expensive, elaborate backsplash designs and materials. Those trends can be pricey to pursue and can look dated in a hurry. Subway tile is a cheaper, classic option that you’ll never regret, plus you’ll have more room in your budget to purchase quality materials to be used elsewhere.

Cheap Flooring: Just like the countertops, your kitchen floor needs to be strong enough to take some abuse. Cheap flooring easily scuffs and peels (especially from moisture). Quality flooring is worth the investment.

 

For more information and/or Free CMA, please feel free to contact me.

Melinda O'Donnell
1740 Chapel Hills Dr
Colorado Springs, CO 80920
Phone: (719) 896-6856

Make Your Small Bathroom Look Bigger

7/27/2017

 

Make your small bathroom look bigger

Is your tiny bathroom feeling tight? Maximize your space with these simple tricks:

  • Clarify. Instead of a heavy, opaque shower curtain, choose a clear shower curtain or glass shower door.  This will show off the full depth of the room.
  • Brighten. Choose solid, light colors for towels, rugs and other linens to brighten up the space.
  • Clean. Remove or hide away clutter, clearing off the sink and tucking away toiletries into a cabinet or basket.
  • Glow. Let the light in by switching out dull fixtures and placing mirrors to strategically reflect the light.

Ready to upgrade into another home? Contact me for information about buying or selling!

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