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Record Low Temps and Frozen Pipes

February 14, 2016

Last nights temperatures hit a record low in the Hudson Valley (below zero in most areas – these were actual temps and not wind chills).As you can imagine many pipes froze. I spent the evening checking in on some of my listings to make sure that they were prepared for the cold. Below are some tips to follow. Tonight’s temps won’t be as cold but pipes can still freeze.thermomiter
The first thing you should do is keep the cabinet doors open on all sinks that are located on an exterior wall.The trick is to allow a circulation of warmer air around the pipes.I take it a step further by using a foam insulation panel on the back of the cabinet.If you have young children please REMOVE all chemicals from under the sink before you do this.sink
Check your house for any openings around pipes,electrical service,dryer vents etc. and seal them up with insulation. Cold air coming in near pipes can cause them to freeze.Don’t forget to check those drafty basement windows and insulate those as well.
The best thing you can do in weather like this is to keep the water moving through the pipes.Turn a faucet on in your house that is farthest from the water main to a slow steady trickle.If you notice a decrease in water pressure your pipes might be beginning to freeze so run warm water through them to loosen any ice that might be beginning to form.
water mainIf your pipes do freeze the first thing to do is turn off your water main (everyone should know where their main is for emergencies) to minimize damage and call a professional to help.

Holiday Decorating and Listing Your Home

December 18, 2015

Many times I have been asked if it is ok to decorate a house for the Holidays when it is listed for sale. My answer is always yes, BUT it has to be ‘tastefully’ done. This isn’t the time to get out the things your kids made in kindergarten or the hideous ornament your sweet dear old Aunt Edna gave you (the one that you always hated but now that she is dearly departed you feel obligated to put out). My motto is less is more and keep it simple. After all you wouldn’t want to put up a 7 ft tree when you have low ceiling height or a large tree in a small room . This will only draw attention to all the shortcomings of your property.Remember not everyone shares your religious beliefs or decorating tastes. It is best to keep it simple and as neutral as possible.

On occasion I have had to remove some “What were you thinking” items. This was a Santa that was obviously possessed! It wasn’t just ugly it really scared the kids.Next up was the Christmas Tree Tea Pot – Wow I would love a spot of tea out of that!You know I’m not really not sure what the heck this next one was. I guess it’s an Angel – but who knows – just bury it.I would love to see your ‘Ugly’ Ornaments – come on you know you have them!

My Damn Irish Skin and Giving Thanks

November 29, 2015

I guess it was inevitable… pasty Irish skin ,summers in #Rockaway beach and Sea-n-Ski sun tan lotion with an SPF of Zero, that I would end up with Skin Cancer. In a strange twist of fate it was my ‘Irish Skin’ that kind of saved me. I have Rosacea (which affects many fair-skinned people) and I needed to renew my cream. I called the office and they refused to renew the cream over the phone (because it had been too long since my last visit) they said I had to come into the office. Needless to say I was really annoyed at the idea of having to make a trip into the office for a stupid prescription.
While I was there I figured I would make the most out of my visit so I asked the Dr. to look at a few moles that I had moles (I was convinced that they looked like all those cancerous moles you see on posters in the office waiting room) He said they were fine, no worries. Kidding around I asked if he could do anything about this age spot on the tip of my nose. He looked at it, felt it with his finger and said “Hmmmn”.He then retrieved what I would refer to as a Jeweler’s loop ‘to get a better look’. He examined the tip of my nose under magnification for what seemed like an eternity, I was afraid to breathe (partly because I was scared and the other because I had onions for lunch and had really bad breath).He eventually walked away and I could finally exhale. He mumbled something but I wasn’t listening, I was ready to leave. He then turned around and said that “it warranted a biopsy”. (WHAT, are you kidding me?) He said that the Age Spot was fine but it was a blood vessel that shot off of it that concerned him. He was quick to say that there was only a 20% chance it was ‘anything’ and if it was ‘something’ this was the time to ‘catch it’.
The biopsy was done and he said I should hear something in a week. Two days later I got a call from his office and the nurse said she was sorry but it came back as positive for Cancer .My heart sank and a flood of thoughts went through my mind. I wallowed for about 30 minutes and then started to look at all my options (which turned out to be many).
1. It could be a lot worse
2. I was kind of lucky it was caught when it was
3. I am older and looks aren’t as important
4. Free Nose job
5. I had the ‘Good Kind of Cancer’
6. If this is the worst thing that happens in my life – I’m grateful
Here is my PSA for the day – 1 in 5 people will experience some kind of skin cancer – no group is immune –you need to get a body scan 1x a year (more often if you are in a high risk group). Over the past three decades, more people have had skin cancer than all other cancers combined. Use sunscreen and protective clothing when out in the sun.

Mice, Mice Everywhere

October 4, 2015

This is the time of year that those cute little furry friends try to take up residence in your home. As cute as they are, not many folks like the idea of sharing their homes with Mice and for good reason, their droppings carry diseases and Mice also harbor Dear Tics.
The first order of business is to try to keep them from coming in. This can be a tough task since Mice can squeeze through holes as small as a dime. Do an inspection around the perimeter of your home and repeat the process on the inside. A favorite access point for Mice are dryer vents that are low to the ground, make sure the vents are not clogged with lint that prevent them from closing properly.
If you want to try to get rid of the Mice yourself here are some tips:
1. Place traps in areas where you see mouse droppings.mice poop Don’t vacuum up droppings because you can get sick if you inhale the airborne urine and fecal matter.Mice have terrible eye site and tend to make paths along walls – place traps along walls instead of the middle of the floor.
2. If you are going to use bait stations with poison do not use the kind that has pellets. Mice don’t always eat the poison right away – they sometimes bring it back to the nest or hide it around your house (this can be dangerous for your Pets and kids). Instead use the poison that is a paste or a gel stick – they can’t transport this kind.mice poison
3. You can use many different kinds of foods to entice Mice – peanut butter works well and according to my neighbor the #1 thing to use is Tootsie Rolls. Mice have an incredible sense of smell so it is important to switch out the bait often no matter what kind you use so it doesn’t rot.
If this isn’t your cup of Tea just call a professional 🙂

Decks , Decks and Decks

September 6, 2015

Just because a deck has a C/O doesn’t necessarily mean it’s safe. I came across this situation with a young couple buying their first home in Bedford. The first question any good Agent asks is ‘Does the Deck have a C/O’? In this case the answer was yes so I thought there wouldn’t be a problem – not so. This home was a weekend home for an older couple from Manhattan. They owned the home for over 30 years and when the deck was built it was built to code however, since that time building codes have changed and for good reason. Looking at the Deck you would never suspect the Deck was dangerous as it was well taken care of and the wood was in good shape (the couple rarely used the deck so there was not much wear and tear). On closer inspection things popped up like the railings. This Deck was built when horizontal railings and built-in deck seating was popular. This is a big no/no since kids can climb onto the built-in seats and over the rail. Handrails have to be at least 36’’ high (check with your local building codes) and the space in between spokes can be no larger than 4’’ (so kids and pets can’t get their heads stuck).
Here are some other things to look for:deck2
The deck should be ‘bolted’ to the house, not screwed with deck screws or nails. If it is not bolted it can separate and pull away from the house. You need to use ½ inch stainless Steel or Galvanized Lag Screws. If the Screws are not large enough they won’t be able to support the Deck. If they aren’t Stainless Steel or Galvanized they can rust and become weak.deck3 The Posts that support the deck need to be placed on footings and not buried beneath the ground. The posts should also never sit directly on top of the concrete footing (wood should never come in direct contact with concrete) it should be anchored to the footing with a metal anchor.deck4
deck5 Footings need to be larger than the post and the post should sit in the center of the footing – the footing in this picture is too small and the post is not anchored.
Another thing to look for is flashing,this can be overlooked but is important. Flashing is located between the deck and house.It protects the house from water.moisture and helps prevent rotting.Proper maintenance and yearly inspection of your deck will help it last a long,long time.

Little Drunken Chef #NameYourPoison

July 20, 2015

drunken9Well Bonnie Saran has hit another home run with the opening of her new restaurant Little Drunken Chef – Tapas & Oyster Bar # nameyourpoison. I was lucky to have received an invitation to a VIP event that was held on Saturday. Let me just say that my senses were on overload, the place was hopping.drunken3 The ambiance and decor are unlike anything else found in Kisco (reminiscent of something found in NYC or Boston) it’s unique, chic, eclectic and inviting all at the same time.
drunken7The Bar was buzzing with the sound of drinks being prepared. They were poured into cool shaped glassware (tilted like the leaning tower of Pisa) The Bartender was amazing and he had very interesting spins on classic drinks that seemed to please the crowed. Everyone seemed to be having a great time.
drunken1The Menu was so overwhelming with choices that I am definitely going to have to do a follow-up post. But for now it is safe to say that there is something for everyone and you won’t be disappointed. They have an array of Oysters and Shell Fish. For the Shrimp lover you will be given the entire Shrimp served in the most unusual way.drunken6 They have Salads, Tacos (these are unlike any other Taco you have had), Pulled Pork, Dumplings, Paella and the list goes on and on. The menu is fun and different and there is something for every palate to enjoy.drunken8
Do yourself a favor and when The Little Drunken Chef officially opens get on down to 36 East Main Street in Kisco.

Reclaimed Treasures and P.O.W’s

July 17, 2015

We all know that the best thing you can do to get your house ready to sell is to de-clutter . Very often I will help my clients clean out garages and basements in order to get the process moving along . I am also asked all the time if I want any of their stuff . I really have to resist the urge to take these things since I’m trying to de-clutter and sell my own house . This past weekend I did come across a table that I could use .table1 It was in really bad shape and was slated to go in the garbage . I can’t stand to see anything thrown out that could have another use . I figured it would be an easy weekend project to stain or paint it a funky cool color . It had a draw in the front that would not open and you could hear that there were items inside . My client told me I could have anything that was in the draw and of course my curiosity got the best of me . It took a bit of elbow grease but I managed to get the draw opened and this is what I found .table2 There were some old plastic eggs from an Easter long ago,some rubber balls and an interesting bracelet . I vaguely remember these bracelets; when I was a little kid I remember my older cousins having them . They were called P.O.W / MIA bracelets, It was a way to remember the prisoners of war in Vietnam . The bracelets cost about $2.50 and had the name of a P.O.W inscribed on them.table3 This particular bracelet had the name lieutenant Thomas Pilkington inscribed on the front with the date of when he went missing (September 19th 1966) . I decided to look Lt. Pilkington up to see if he was ever found. Unfortunately, he is still listed as being missing . With the recent Terror attacks both domestic and foreign it really brings home the sacrifices some people and their families make for our country.