Thomas Murphy - Pine Shores Real Estate



Posted by Thomas Murphy on 8/6/2017

planting flowersWe all want our yard to look perfect, or at least better than the neighbor's. But taking care of the yard takes a lot of work and many of us come to depend on harsh weedkillers or insect deterrents to keep the yard looking pristine. What many don't know is that there are other, more eco-friendly options that will keep the pests at bay. Better yet, many of these solutions are easily made from household items. Follow these tips to keep your yard looking great without filling the ground and air with chemicals.

Killing weeds

What is a weed? Ralph Waldo Emerson lovingly describes a weed as "a plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered." While this may be true, it doesn't mean we have to let them take over our grass each year. Weeds are invasive because they spread--quickly--and kill off the plants and grasses we want in their place. To combat weeds there's no need for harsh chemicals that harm your yard and break your wallet. Instead, try diluting some white vinegar with water and pouring it on the weeds. This should take care of most of the weeds. However, the vinegar will drastically change the pH of your soil, so you don't want to rely on this for the rest of the season. The next time you see a weed popping up, pour some boiling water directly on it. It will kill the weed but keep your soil healthy so your grass or flowers can keep growing normally.

Insect deterrent

Having bugs in your yard is a good thing. They're part of the natural ecosystem that helps maintain your soil and pollenate your plants. Sometimes, however, insects can become invasive and destructive to the vegetation in your yard. If you notice beetles eating all of your plants' leaves, dilute some plain Dawn dish soap with water and spray it onto the infected leaves. The soap won't harm your plants but it will drive the beetles crazy, sending them off to someone else's yard. Nature has its own insecticides that few of us take advantage of. Plant marigolds, for example, around the perimeter of your property to deter scores of insects and other pests from ever entering your yard. See this helpful list for many other pest controlling plants.

Bug Repellant

We've talked a lot about protecting your yard from invasive pests. But what about protecting yourself? Whether it's pesky flies or biting mosquitos, there are many natural ways to keep the bugs away when you're out in the yard. Most effective commercial insect repellants contain DEET, a strong smelling chemical insecticide. We've all heard about the dangers of DEET, which was developed by the U.S. Army in the 1940s for use in warfare. The chemical compound has been approved and re-approved for use by the EPA since then, but studies have raised questions of its safety. Many people object to using DEET based on its potent smell alone. So, what are the alternatives? Many have taken the bug spray conundrum into their own hands, mixing various herbs and essential oils to keep the bugs away. Check out these recipes and let us know which one works for you!





Posted by Thomas Murphy on 7/30/2017

Ready to transform an ordinary kitchen into a stellar one? With a kitchen cleaning checklist, any home seller can revamp a kitchen's look and feel.

Ultimately, there are several things to include in a kitchen cleaning checklist, such as:

1. Countertops

If you cook regularly, your kitchen countertops may become messy. Plus, if you store a wide range of items on your kitchen countertops, these items may collect dust over time.

Fortunately, it usually doesn't take long for a home seller to clean kitchen countertops and improve their overall appearance.

It may prove to be worthwhile to clean the kitchen countertops daily. Wiping down the countertops regularly ensures that dust and debris can be eliminated before they cause long-lasting damage.

Furthermore, don't forget to eliminate as much clutter as possible from your kitchen countertops. This will enable you to show off the true beauty of your kitchen countertops, thereby increasing the likelihood that potential homebuyers will be impressed by your home's kitchen.

2. Floors

If food particles fall onto the floor while you're cooking – and you fail to clean them up in a timely fashion – serious problems may arise in your kitchen. However, a diligent home seller will know how to keep the kitchen floors looking great at all times.

Cleaning the kitchen floors typically is a weekly task that may require just a few minutes to complete.

If you have tile floors in your kitchen, warm water can be used to wipe down the floors as needed. Also, sweeping or vacuuming tile floors will enable you to get rid of loose soil and grit.

Comparatively, if you have hardwood floors in your kitchen, boiling water may prove to be essential. Wash your kitchen's hardwood floors thoroughly, and you can enhance their appearance in no time at all.

3. Sink

Believe it or not, the kitchen sink can make a world of difference in the eyes of potential homebuyers. If you dedicate the necessary time and resources to clean the kitchen sink, you should have no trouble impressing homebuyers any time they check out your house's kitchen.

Using a general-purpose cleaner is all it takes to clean a kitchen sink. After you apply the cleaner, wipe the sink dry, and you're good to go.

Daily kitchen sink cleaning is paramount. If you spend even a few minutes each day cleaning the kitchen sink, you can maintain the sink's appearance both now and in the future.

If you need additional help with kitchen cleaning, don't hesitate to reach out to a home cleaning company for assistance. This business hires professionals who understand the ins and outs of cleaning a kitchen – as well as other areas of a home – and will help you revamp a house's appearance.

Lastly, feel free to contact a real estate agent for support throughout the home selling process. With an expert real estate agent at your side, you can boost your chances of getting the best price for your residence.





Posted by Thomas Murphy on 7/23/2017

Many people think that if they live in a so-called "nice neighborhood" that they're immune to residential crime. While it's true that the probability of having their home or cars broken into may be lower than in urban or high-crime areas, there's always the outside chance that there's someone wandering through the neighborhood -- especially at night -- who doesn't have the best of intentions. While that does not mean you have to be in a state of "high alert" all the time, it does make sense to develop good habits with regard to home security. One thing to avoid is being lulled into a state of complacency by the the sight of manicured lawns, friendly neighbors, and the peaceful atmosphere of your neighborhood. Although those qualities are well worth appreciating and being grateful for, an ounce of prevention can help preserve the sanctity of your home and property. Typical Security Mistakes Homeowners Make Whether you're talking about highway safety, food safety, or home security, you and your family can lead a safer, more secure life by following a few basic guidelines. Unfortunately, all-too-many people tend to let their guard down and leave themselves vulnerable to threats, like home break-ins, burglary, and other residential crimes. Have you noticed any neighbors on your street who seem to "throw caution to the wind" when they're away? Maybe you, too, have gotten a little too complacent or forgetful about basic home security measures. Here are a few of the common mistakes many people make -- especially when they're on vacation -- which could be an invitation to trouble:

  1. Leaving a house key under the front door mat: Although it may seem like a convenient and somewhat discreet place to "hide" a key, it's one of the first places a resourceful burglar is going to look. Not only that, but every time a friend or member of the family accesses that key, they could easily be observed by someone passing by. The longer it's there, the more people are going to see it.
  2. Forgetting to suspend mail or newspaper delivery: When you go on vacation or visit relatives for more than a few days, your mind is already cluttered with travel plans and other arrangements. It's easy to forget about details like mail delivery and newspapers accumulating in the driveway. However, if either of those items start piling up in front of your house, it's equivalent to placing a flashing neon sign in your window, saying "Nobody's home!" Rather than contacting the post office and newspaper circulation department, an easier method is to have a trusted neighbor or friend gather your deliveries and store them in a safe place -- possibly inside your home. (If they're a really good friend, they can also water your plants, feed your tropical fish, take care of your pets, and turn on a couple lights at night -- but, maybe you don't want to test the limits of your friendship that much!)
  3. Leaving lampposts and outdoor floodlights on continuously: Again, it's like an advertisement that the house is unoccupied.
  4. Allowing the grass to get too long: It's amazing how a little sunshine and rain, while you're away, can cause an unexpected growth spurt in your lawn. Although it's not as obvious as the previous items, it can be a tip off that the family is on vacation, blissfully unaware of the security breaches that are occurring. The overgrown grass problem can be prevented by either hiring a regular lawn mowing service or recruiting an enterprising teenager in the neighborhood to keep your property looking well tended while you're away.
There are potentially dozens of home security measures you can take to ensure that your premises are completely burglarproof, but they can be expensive and complicated. However, if you just follow a few commonsense guidelines, both your possessions and your peace of mind should remain fully intact!





Posted by Thomas Murphy on 7/16/2017

Because you know how much time, energy and money it takes to buy, move into and furnish a house, you're more than ready to buy one or more great gifts for relatives or friends who are about to become new homeowners. You've even offered to help your friends pack at their current home and unpack at their new house.

Ideas that could help you find the right gifts for new homeowners

If only you could think of a great gift to give the new homeowners. If this is the first time that your relatives or friends have moved out and lived on their own, deciding on what to get them could be easy, as they might not have any appliances, linen or furniture.

It could be tougher to choose a great gift if your friends or relatives have been living on their own for awhile and are moving from an apartment to a house. Even if the new homeowners have lived in an apartment for one or more years, they may love receiving these gifts:

  • Family size washer and dryer - Apartment dwellers may have a washer and dryer, but not floor size laundry appliances. They'll appreciate being able to load enough clothes into a washer and dryer to go from washing clothes two or more times a week to only washing laundry once a week.
  • Dishwasher - Go for this gift only if you know that the homeowners will use the appliance. Everyone doesn't use a dishwasher, some people opting to wash and dry dishes and pots and pans by hand.
  • Dinette set - A dinette set is a great gift for new homeowners because this furniture can be used to dine with. A dinette set can also be used as furniture to accommodate guests. Chairs at the dinette set can also serve as makeshift living room furniture until the new homeowners get a sofa and chair.
  • Pots and pans - Stainless steel pots and pans can last years, even if the homeowners are avid cooks.
  • Lamps - Decorative lamps work well in so many rooms, including a living room, den, finished basement, attic and in a bedroom.
  • Window treatments - Visit the new homeowners' place before you get window treatments. Blinds and shades are safe gifts, because homeowners can always hang drapes or curtains over blinds and shades.
  • Towels - A set of six towels can give new homeowners enough bathroom linen to wash with for several weeks.
  • Vacuum cleaner - It might not sound like an attractive gift, but a vacuum cleaner is one of the more frequently used appliances in a home.

Get the new homeowners in your life great gifts and you'll leave a lasting impression. You can help to put your friends or relatives closer to being truly independent as they move into their own place. Don't be surprised to see your gifts in your loved ones homes months, perhaps years, after they move into their new house.




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Thomas Murphy on 7/9/2017

There are many different ways that you can stay safe around your home. One of your top safety priorities should be to try to prevent a fire from happening at your home. Below, you’ll find some tips to reduce the risk in your home.

Pay Attention To Your Dryer


You need to prevent your dryer from overheating. To do this, clean the lint screens after each and every use. A dryer that overheats can cause a serious fire.


Keep A Fire Extinguisher On Hand


Every home should have at least one fire extinguisher accessible. Keep these out of a child’s reach. You’ll want to choose an extinguisher that is rated A-B-C. These extinguishers fight different kinds of fires including those that have been started by liquids, electricity, and combustible materials. You never know what could start a fire in your home. When using an extinguisher, think of the acronym PASS (pull the pin, aim, squeeze, and sweep across the fire.)


Smoke Detectors Are Incredibly Important


A smoke alarm should be installed on every floor of your home. It’s preferable to have these installed outside of and inside of bedrooms. Be sure that you test smoke alarms each month so that you know they’re working properly. 


Be Mindful When Burning Candles


When you light a candle, be especially careful. As the candle burns, the temperature of the outside of the glass gets very hot. This can start a fire easily. You’ll also want to keep the candle away from any combustible materials like paper and cloth. It’s a good idea to have the candle on a heat-resistant surface. You should also place candles in a place where they cannot be tipped over by children or pets in the house while lit.  


Never Leave Space Heaters On Unattended  


Space heaters can be very useful, but you should never leave them on unattended or while you’re sleeping. If you do choose to use a space heater, make sure that it is far away from combustible items like curtains, blankets, or papers. 


Keep Matches And Lighters Away From Children


Children get curious and tend to want to play with whatever they can get their hands on. This means that you should keep the matches and lighters in your home locked away in a space that’s preferably high up. This is an important safety measure for any home with kids. 


Have A Fire Escape Plan


You and your family should collaborate on a fire escape plan just in case of an emergency. You can even have periodic practice drills, showing children where they need to meet outside the home to have everyone accounted for. Help children to understand what the fire alarm sounds like. Younger folks should also understand that you never go back into a burning building once you have successfully escaped.