You Need To VENT !!! Are You Venting Properly ?

With the installation of energy efficient furnaces, these little PVC pipes poking out of the sides of homes, have become quite common.  No longer do we need expensive or enormous chimneys in order to heat our homes. Of course if you love a wood burning fire, then yes, you will need a fire retardant chimney with a triple wall metal insert.  Now back to venting.

courtesy of consumer union

courtesy of consumer union

Because furnaces are so efficient, there is a minimal amount of heat released allowing the installation of short pvc pipes.  These are normally found at the base of the home either coming from the first floor or basement, depending on the location of the furnace.

With the record snowfalls we have incurred this year, numerous homeowners have forgotten about the pipes and have allowed them to become snow covered.  Calls are being reported for furnaces not operating.  When snow packs around the opening of the vents, it causes the pilot lights to go out. Heavy snow pack can also cause carbon-monoxide to back up since it does not have an exit.

For your safety make sure these vents are clear of any snow pack.

Another vent you may have issues with in this severe cold, is your sewer vent or vents depending on how many bathrooms or sinks in the home.  These are required to operate your water pressure in your toilets and sinks.  One sign that they may be blocked, is a gurgling sound in another room when flushing the toilet or draining a sink.  This means there is not a proper air exchange. Hence a back up of methane gas.

courtesy of Structure Tech Home Inspections

courtesy of Structure Tech Home Inspections

You can now find kits in your hardware store to attach to the tops of your vent pipes to prevent the buildup of ice and or snow. Or you can try to insulate the vent pipes inside the attic area of your home.  If you have sudden gurgling in your traps or you begin to smell sewer gas, you will need to address the issue because methane gas besides smelling bad will give you headaches and make you feel sick.

If you have any questions about your vents and do not feel qualified to address the issues, contact a local contractor with good references to take car of the issues.

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Are You Ready For The “Hot” Selling Season?


I know you are most likely thinking of Summer when you hear the word  “hot”, but really the hot selling season is the Spring and for the Finger Lakes Area, it starts to wind up in mid February.  (just around the corner).  Why February?  Well buyers know that if they are really serious, looking in February will allow them to find a property and start enjoying during the first available part of the Summer season.  If they close before then, they will have time to freshen it up and furnish to their liking.  I already have buyers looking for new property listings. If your home is listed at the beginning of the selling curve, you are most likely to obtain the highest selling price. Competition is the strongest during the Spring.  So let me help you stay ahead of the crowd with the following tips below. The longer you wait to list, the more buyers there are that have decided on a home that is already listed.  So lets get going… 7K0A0947

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The Top Three Items To Stop A Buyer In Their Tracks

real estate for saleWhen your home goes up for sale, your Realtor® will be working hard to find and attract buyers to your home.  Once these buyers arrive there to view your property, you want to make sure that your home is ready, everything is in place and tidy and that the buyer will want to continue through your doors and eventually decide this is going to be “their” new home.  But if certain items are not addressed, this will not happen as planned.

Your home will have professional photos taken and even the best photographer can not remove the clutter. The top three things that will stop a buyer in their tracks are:


  • Pet Odors…Many owners do not realize that there are odors present, either because they have become raining cats and dogsaccustomed to them, or they just are not sensitive to odors.  There is nothing like walking through the door and being knocked out with pet odors and the worst are usually cat odors.

But dog odors can be just as bad, depending on the type of dogs or if the owner breeds them.  If you have cats or dogs ask one of your friends to be honest about the odors, and actually kids are most likely to tell you the truth.

With cat odors you will want to wash everything down with a neutralizing solution (visit your local hardware store for their recommendation), set out odor capturing containers and thoroughly clean out the litter boxes.  If the cats have sprayed on the furniture, you will have to remove it.  Do not just put out fragrance containers or candles, they do not remove the odors, and sometimes those odors can be just as overpowering.  The best fragrance in a home, is something very mild.

For dogs, make sure their bedding is kept clean.  If your dogs are used to getting up on the furniture, you may want to keep covers on them.  These covers can then be removed when showing the home.

  • Curb Appeal…When a Realtor® drives up to your home with the clients in the car, the last thing your agent wantsc56241_aa083b1b02b243469c4b0645f6c24fc6_jpg_srz_257_343_75_22_0_50_1_20_0 to hear is “No, we do not want to see this house.” because at that point, there is no forcing them inside.

Make sure your entry way is clean and inviting.  Windows on doors should be clean and sparkling, doors should be freshly painted and all trim work painted as well.  Any toys or gardening implements need to be put away, leaves and or snow should be removed and it does not hurt to have a nice seasonal item such as a planter or wreath to welcome you. The lawn should be cut and trimmed and trash containers put out of view.

I had one client that insisted on leaving a burn barrel in the side yard, and you would not believe how many buyers questioned the burn barrel being there.  The burn barrel detracted from the beauty of this million dollar home.

Many times we enter our homes through side doors or back doors and forget about the attraction or lack of, of our front door.  Take a fresh look at your entry way today.

  • Smoking Odors…Gone are the days of smoking being acceptable.  Non-smokers will notice the odors much more smokethan smokers.  Smoke will work it’s way into all of your material items such as sofas, chairs and drapes.  It will also yellow your walls and fixtures.  So if you  are a smoker or someone in your house smokes, you will have to address the behavior and thoroughly clean everything in your home,  including your ceilings.  This may be the opportunity to encourage the end of the smoking habit.

When meeting with prospective sellers, I have the talk with them.  The bad pet odor talk, the smoke in the house or the curb appeal talk and sometimes the conversation includes all of the topics.  If I am not honest with them, I am not doing my job.  I know what it takes to get buyers into your home.  Some buyers have pet allergies and just knowing there are odors , sets the stage for them, the one that says this home just will not do, even if the odors are minimal. And non-smokers will pick up the slightest hint of tobacco smoke.   Becoming mad at the potential buyers will not sell your home, but addressing the issues will.

Let me know if I can be of assistance to you, to help you prepare your home for sale.


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The Best Real Estate Blog ??? Last Year… This Year ???


mortgage ratesOk, so now we are into a new year and it has become customary to look back on last year for the best and worst and to look forward to this year to make it the best.  So who is it that judges these blogs?  I belong to a very large group of bloggers and  one of the Real Estate Tomatoes.  We do not have a contest, though we do notice and recognize our fellow bloggers that have great content and graphics.  We look to each other to improve our sites.  The “Big Tomato, Jim Cronin” is always looking for better ways to capture and post content as well as ways to keep our sites secure.   But there are bloggers out there on paid sites, free sites and even those that are “guest” bloggers.  Is it even possible to view all of these sites?

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Keuka Lake Wine Trail Celebrates 30 Years !

When I first located in the Finger Lakes region from Rochester, I was of course impressed with the landscape colored with vineyards, rolling hills and the blue lakes that these wandering hills surrounded.  The lakes became a huge source of enjoyment to my two young boys.  They played in the water, swam and eventually ventured onto the lakes with their own boats.  There have been lots of lakeside parties with friends and fun days out on the boat.

Through all of this, I have watched the Keuka Lake Wine Trail grow with the addition of so many great wineries.  The most recent addition that I am familiar with, is Vineyard View.  I have the luxury of knowing the young men and woman that own and run this winery.  My sons have been friends with this family since their school days here in the area.  My youngest son also held his rehearsal dinner at the winery recently.

When family or friends come to the area, there are a few wineries that are favorites on our tour for both the wines and views.  Each is unique in their offerings.  Some even have wonderful restaurants or cafe’s for an added experience.  No matter which winery or wineries you choose to visit, you will be graciously welcomed.

Keuka Lake Wine Trail Celebrates 30 Years

Through the years this lake has supported me in my business of selling lakefront properties.  And for that I am additionally thankful.


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