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Chester County PA Real Estate Market Trends for December 2018

by Scott Darling

Chester County PA Real Estate Market Trends for December 2018

Chester County PA single-family homes saw pending sales decrease by 39.0% in December 2018 when compared to December 2017. 527 homes sold in December with a median sales price of $320,000.  The average sales price decreased by 2.4%, and homes were on the market 10 days less.

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Un-Wall Papering in Your Chester County PA Home!

by Scott Darling


You’ve just bought the perfect home, it needs a little cosmetic work, and you’re ready to tackle the job.  When you think about removing the dated wallpaper in the dining room, and you put it off, for fear that it’s going to take forever.  It may be a mess
y and time-consuming job, but it’s not going to be as hard as you think if you follow these tips: 

 

  • - Tools you will need:  plastic sheeting, wide masking tape, rags and old towels, bucket, spray bottles or garden sprayer, three- or four-inch wide scrapers, paper scoring tool, large tile sponge; if the wallpaper is old, you may need to purchase an enzyme-based remover at a home store. 

  • - Before you begin, remove furniture from the room, or put it all in the center, and cover with plastic.  Using the masking tape, tape the plastic sheeting over the baseboards, and spread the rest of the plastic onto the floor. Don’t forget to cover electrical outlets! 

  • - Using the scrolling perforator tool, gently score the paper in every direction so your solution (next step) can penetrate the paper and adhesive for easier removal. 

  • - Now, mix up one gallon of hot tap water with one cup of white vinegar, add to your spray bottle or garden sprayer, and apply the solution to the scored paper, one section at the time.  Allow to sit for ten minutes. 

  • - Beginning in a top corner, lift the paper with the scraper, and gently tug.  If it comes off easily, continue to remove as much paper as possible, carefully using the scraper on the more resistant parts. If that first piece isn’t budging after a tug, allow the vinegar solution to sit for a few more minutes, then test again. 

  • - Once you have the bulk of the paper off one section, continue spraying and removing one area of the wall at the time.   

  • - Use care when you get to a section where the glue can be especially sturdy:  give the area shot of the vinegar solution, and gently scrape in the direction you’re pulling the paper.  You don’t want to damage the drywall or plaster. 

  • - Once the paper is off, you’ll still have some of the backing stuck to the walls.  Using a large sponge dampened with the vinegar solution and your scraper, rub over the backing, scraping gently as you go. 

  • - After the walls are clear of paper and adhesive, fill your bucket with clean warm water, and wipe the walls down with the tile sponge.  Allow to dry. 

  • - Paper will likely remain under any switch plates and outlet covers.  Turn off electricity to the room, and remove the wall plates with a screwdriver, peeling the paper off carefully. 

 

If the paper has been hung over other layers of wallpaper, obviously, the job will take more time, but try to only remove one layer at a time, using the above steps for every layer.  Sometimes you get lucky, and more than one layer comes off at a time.  Set aside a weekend for this job and grab some help to make the job go faster.  Take your helper out to eat once the job is complete!

 

Courtesy of Chester County PA Realtor Scott Darling.

Photo credit: wallpaperwarehouse.com

Preventing and Getting Rid of Mold

by Scott Darling


Mold is a subject that strikes fear in many people.  Though the toxic form of black mold is rare, there are plenty of other types that invade our bathrooms, basements and other places in our homes. Let’s look at the best ways to get control over any mold p
roblem anywhere we find it. 

 

The bathroom is the most common place for mold, because it has all the right conditions for mold growth:  moisture, a place to grow, and food. 

  • - Use the exhaust fan every time you shower, and if your bathroom isn’t equipped with one, crack the window to allow the steam to escape. 

  • - Wipe down the shower walls and door when you’re finished, leaving the door open until everything is completely dry. 

  • - If you use a shower curtain, use an anti-mold spray, commercial or homemade, to spray the curtain down, and pull the curtain to its fullest length to dry. 

  • - Any leaks should be repaired immediately and inspect under the sink every few weeks to make sure everything is dry in the cabinets. 

  • - If you have a tile bath, give the grout a waterproof seal once a year. 

  • - When you do find mold on hard surfaces, the CDC recommends mixing a solution of no more than 1 cup of household bleach in a gallon of water.  Provide good ventilation, spray on affected areas, leave for five minutes, rinse, and allow to dry. 

 

Other common places for molds to grow, especially this time of year when we have the heat on, are closets, window sills, basements, and floors around entryways. 

  • - Use washable mats and throw-rugs with waterproof backing at doorways. 

  • - Keep your home’s humidity below 40%.  Using a humidifier is a necessity in Winter, and you may need to use a hygrometer to help you keep moisture levels in check. 

  • - Occasionally inspect your fridge’s drip pan for excessive moisture, and clean according to manufacturer’s instructions. 

  • - Attics can be the first-place mold can start in case of a leaky roof, so get the roof repaired immediately, and clean the mold as soon as you discover it.  Be sure there are no leaves or other obstructions blocking the attic’s vents. 

  • - Having the crawl space of your home encapsulated can be expensive, but it is the only solution to keeping moisture from coming up from the ground and can help you see standing water in case of plumbing leaks. 

  • - The EPA has some tips for mold cleanup, as well as information on when to call in a pro for removal.  

 

There are many products available to help keep moisture in your home at bay.  Desiccant bags containing silica gel are great for hanging in small places such as closets.  Small non-electric dehumidifiers are also available for larger areas, and whole-house dehumidifiers are another option, just more expensive.  While not all molds are toxic, they are allergens, and prevention and action are keys to a healthier, mold-free home.

Courtesy of Chester County PA Realtor Scott Darling.

Photo credit: lung.org

Save on Heating in Your Chester County PA Home!

by Scott Darling


Turning the heat on is such a simple thing these days, usually the flick of a switch, or just a tap on our thermostats. Heating costs are something we need to be mindful of, much like our air conditioning in the Summer.  Let’s look at these ten ways we ca
n save while staying warm: 

 

  • - Have your heating unit serviced by a reputable service company.  They can go over your unit thoroughly and make certain it’s ready for Winter. 

  • - Central heating units use the intake filter just like the AC.  Check it monthly and replace when covered with dirt and dust.  Your system will run more efficiently. 

  • - If you use propane, ask your provider if they will lock in the price per gallon if you pay up front for the season.  This can keep you from being hit with a surprise when your tank needs filling, and the price has unexpectedly risen. 

  • - Get an energy audit performed on your home. Find a professional to do this assessment, and you’ll be able to see what you can do to your home to keep the heat in and the cold out. 

  • - Check for cracks around doors and windows, and if possible, fill with spray insulation, which can be purchased by the can at home centers. 

  • - Install a smart or programmable thermostat and use the feature religiously!  There’s no reason to keep the temps inside your home on the tropical level if no one is there.   

  • - When you are home, keep the temps low, and wear layered clothing.  Just turning the thermostat down a few degrees can make a big difference in costs. 

  • - Just because it’s cold, doesn’t mean you have to turn the ceiling fan off.  Flip the toggle switch on the side so your fan is turning clockwise and keep the fan on low--it pulls the cooler air up and moves the warm air away from the ceiling. 

  • - Use cooking and baking to your advantage:  once the oven is turned off, if it’s safe for other family members, leave the door cracked open and use that heat to warm up the space! 

  • - Upgrading your furnace is a big expense, but if yours is more than fifteen years old, it may save money in the long run to have a new unit installed. 
     

During these cold months, keep a check on elderly family members and neighbors.  If they need some help weatherizing things, organize a day where you and other volunteers can help them save money and stay warm.  If you know of someone who is struggling to pay for heating, contact your local health and human services, as there are programs through power companies and local government agencies to help them pay for their heating source.

 

Courtesy of Chester County PA Realtor Scott Darling.

 

Photo credit: Geico

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Photo of Scott Darling Real Estate
Scott Darling
RE/MAX Action Associates
403 W. Lincoln Highway #101
Exton PA 19341
(610) 594-SCOT
610-363-2001
Fax: (610) 363-5275