Green Your Space: 5 Tips for a Healthy Home from RIS media’s housecall

Every homeowner wants a healthy home for his or her family and pets. Making the right choices in your house isn’t always easy though. Keep reading to learn more about how you can create a healthy space and enjoy your home even more. These five tips should put you on the path.

Update Your Insulation

Individuals and families in older homes should consider the fact that they may have unhealthy types of insulation in the walls keeping them comfortable. If you’re not sure about your insulation, have the pros check it out first. In the case of asbestos or any other hazardous material, you don’t want to be digging around in the walls on your own.

Asbestos and hazardous insulation remediation can be a big job, but for a homeowner, it should be a top priority in terms of a healthy home. Updating your insulation will also be a major plus when and if you go to sell your home.

Get a Mold Check

Most homeowners never think about mold until they get an inspection related to selling their home. For others, mold isn’t even a consideration until damage to the home occurs and a mold issue more or less reveals itself. Getting a mold check for your home can help your family breathe easier in the house. While most recently built homes won’t have mold, getting a check isn’t going to hurt you.

Pick the Right Paint

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), paint, wood stain and other varieties of coatings account for about nine percent of volatile organic compounds (VOC) emissions in the country every year. For a healthy home, look for low-VOC paint. They are water-based, low or no odor and non-toxic. While it can be hard to identify low-VOC paint on store shelves, online searches and on-can labeling should make it easy to find this type of paint if you’re looking for it.

Take Your Shoes Off

Taking your shoes off every single time you come in your home might be a hard habit to get into, but for many people, it can lead to a healthier home environment. Your home might also require a little less cleaning, which is an added benefit. If you have a mudroom or a large entryway, removing your shoes should be easy. Tracking less outside germs from your shoes into your home can also help keep pets and children with a tendency to spend time on the floor healthier all year round.

Add Plants to Your Décor

Fresh, live plants can beautify almost any space. Live plants do more than just make your home look a little bit nicer though. Spider plants, lilies and aloe vera can help get rid of formaldehyde in the air, and English ivy, asparagus ferns and bamboo plants can work to clean indoor air as well. Whatever plant you choose, make sure they’re not toxic to your pets if they roam free around your home.

Making your home a healthier place isn’t exactly as glamorous as buying new furniture or adding a room to your house. Don’t take your home’s health for granted and you won’t have to worry as much about home-related hazards.

Don’t Do This When Selling Your Home

Time to put your home on the market and that calls for a professional and professional advice for getting your home market ready.  There are things to do for sure but there are things not to do or over do as well.  Here are some suggestions to consider in that regard.  RISmedia’s housecall has these suggestions.


Do not over-improve.

Automatically when you are getting your home ready for sale you think about getting a return on the investment you have made with just a few improvements.  You can update appliances and make repairs to your bathroom and kitchen.  Best not to over improve or be too specific in tastes.  Keep your rooms useful for their original purpose so you can appeal to the most number of buyers.  Make only the repairs or updates that are necessary and do not go overboard!


Don’t over-decorate.

You can over-decorate just like you can over-improve.  Think about your potential buyers and keep your taste simple.  Using neutral décor for your decorating scheme will be the most appealing.


Don’t hang around.

When your agent calls with a buyer to bring to your home, best to make yourself and your family scarce.  If you want buyers to take the most time imagining your home as theirs, they need the freedom to spend time alone and not be under pressure.  Should you not be able to leave make yourself scarce in a corner of the backyard.


Don’t take things personal.

Remember selling and buying a home is a very emotional time.  So don’t take things personal.  If you get a much lesser offer than you expected or a request to replace the carpet that you just loved,  keep in mind that the buyer just wants to do what they believe is in their best interest.  Depend on your real estate professional to do the same for you.

6 Essential Tips for Avoiding Holiday Disasters

RealtyTimes®  has some very good advice for avoiding Holiday disasters.  Here are six tips they give.

Tip 1 – Keep Overnight Guests Comfortable

There’s nothing more relaxing and rejuvenating than a hot shower – especially during colder weather.  Be sure to set your water heater to a comfortable temperature if you’re having guests stay overnight.  Many water heaters sold in America have a factory setting of 140 degrees, but dropping down to 120 degrees will still provide a warm shower.  Reduced water heart temperatures will help you avoid scalded guests and higher utility bills.

Tip 2 – Clear Your Driveways and Walkways

Slick or poorly lit walkways can be hazardous to grandparents, older aunts and uncles and young children.  Remove snow and treat icy conditions before your company arrives.  It’s also important to provide adequate lighting.  Security lights and solar-powered lamps lining your walkways will help you eliminate dangerous conditions.

Tip 3 – Decorate Responsibly

Holiday decorations can quickly turn a celebration into a disaster.  Here are some helpful tips to ensure you are decorating wisely around the house:

Avoid flammable decorations: Paper, lace and fabric decorations look beautiful, but they can pose a threat to your home.  Opt for non-flammable and flame-retardant options to keep your home safe.

Never leave candles burning: Candles make the holidays special, but they can also pose a serious threat.  In fact, there are almost 11,000 candle-related fires each year, resulting in 150 deaths and 1,200 injuries.  Never leave candles burning overnight and keep them out of reach of children or pets.

Water your tree: Your Christmas tree can also pose a threat.  A lack of water can dry out your tree, resulting in a serious fire hazard.  Be sure your tree has adequate amounts of water during the holidays.

Tip 4 – Kennel Your Dog

Find a safe place for your dog if it doesn’t do well with visitors or small children.  The CDC notes that 4.5 million Americans suffer from dog bites each year.  Small children are particularly susceptible because they don’t always know not to make sudden movements or poke fingers and hands at dog’s faces.

Tip 5 – Be Smart in the Kitchen

               There are two things to take into consideration when preparing for a holiday meal.  First, be sure to safely prepare your food.  Always cook chicken and turkey until it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees.  This will destroy all bacteria and foodborne illnesses and prevent your guests from getting sick.  Second, never leave your kitchen unattended while in use.  The American Red Cross found that cooking fires are the leading cause of home fires and related injuries.

Tip 6 – Prevent Drunk Driving

               If you have spare bedrooms, offer the additional space to guests.  You can also prevent over indulgence by limiting the amount of alcohol served during your holiday gatherings.


There are many other ways to ensure that your holidays are safe and fun, but these are just a few of the essential tips that will prevent a holiday disaster.

Going! Going! Gone!

According to® NETWORK Trends, low mortgage rates are becoming a thing of the past.  Rates are now up over 4% which is higher than we have seen in the last two years!  Meaning we are moving from a lower inflation economy to one that is higher.  And this is why.  The return to investors on long-term bonds and mortgages will be less attractive when inflation picks up, leading to lower prices for bonds therefore interest rates must rise!

What should you do?  Shop around with multiple lenders for the best deals on interest rates and lowest closing costs.  Ask for discounts especially if you already have a relationship with a lender.  Improve your credit score.  You can also pay for a discounted rate, put more money down and negotiate harder for a better price on the home of your choice.

The good news is loans are getting easier to get if you are a good credit risk!

Renovations That Pay!


According to RISMedia housecall not all home renovations are equal!  ROI or return on investment is different for every upgrade or renovation that you might consider.  This is especially important if you are considering doing this to make your home more appealing.

Prospective buyers will usually focus on the kitchen and the bathrooms.  A kitchen that is budgeted for 6 to 10 percent of the total home value will get you the highest ROI.  This makes the kitchen the best room in the house to make ready for selling your home.

These are the top 5 projects in priority for receiving the best return on investment.  They are as follows:

  • Replace the Front Door
  • Install a New Fireplace
  • Remodel the Kitchen
  • Convert the Attic Into a Bedroom
  • Replace the Exterior Siding

If you are interested in the simplest and most inexpensive renovation ideas, focus on these.

  • Fix All Windows and Doors
  • Wash Down and Paint Walls
  • Update Lighting Fixtures
  • Replace Worn and Old Carpets

Prepare Your Home for Winter!

Yes winter is upon us and there is no time to waste!  You need to prepare your home for whatever Mother Nature decides to throw at us!  Here are important things to do to protect your home.

Inspect windows and doors for cracks.  Seal all openings with caulk or weatherstripping.  This is important to protect against water and air.

How about your insulation?  It tends to settle and you need to have someone inspect to make sure you have enough to properly insulate your home and keep those utility bills as low as possible!

Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms need to have new batteries for your protection.

Taken a look at your fireplace.  See any loose mortar or missing bricks?  If it is prefabricated, look for cracks in the firebox.  Also make sure your screen is sufficient to protect against loose embers or sparks.

Had a roof inspection lately?  Should have your roof inspected at lease once a year for damage or decay to vent boots or loose or missing shingles.

Winterize your outdoor spigots and store your hoses.

Gutters need attention too and make sure they are clean.

Check your foundation for any changes and washing that could affect the stability of your home.

Keep your HVAC unit(s) working properly by having them serviced twice annually and have the duct work inspected as well.  Change filters monthly.

Set the thermostats slightly lower when going to work or sleep.

Dirt Cheap Home Staging Ideas!

According to an article in RIS Media’s Content Solutions, staging you home should not cost an arm and a leg!  While HGTV says $2,000.00 is a good number, you can accomplish the same effect for far less.  Here are the five ideas suggested in the article.

  1. Pack Away Personal Items

Packing away personal items is one of the simplest — and cheapest — things you can do to sell your house or condo quickly.  The main reason is to allow the buyers to view it as their potential home. Pictures are extremely distracting and potential buyers will stop and stare at people just to see if they know anyone.

In addition to attracting buyers, you want the buyer’s agent to enjoy showing the home because even if this particular buyer isn’t interested, the agent might represent someone who would be a good match.

The cost: $2 to $3 for a roll of packaging tape. You already have the scissors on hand and you can often score the boxes for free from a neighborhood store.

  1. Clear Clutter

Clearing clutter is the hardest thing for most people to do because you are emotionally attached to everything in the house.

Most homeowners are amazed at how much clutter they have after living in a home for a number of years. However, it does affect the way buyers see the home, even if you do not realize it. Clutter collects on shelves and countertops, and in drawers, closets, garages, attics and basements, etc.

Remove items from countertops in the kitchen and bathrooms. Put things in boxes and neatly stacking them in the corner of the garage. Anything extra should go in a small, rented storage unit.

Pack up 90% of your home!

The cost: The price of a storage unit varies (around $45 a month for a 5-by-5-foot unit).

  1. Rearrange and Neutralize

Rearrange the rooms in your home to reel in prospective buyers. Make sure each room has a distinct, useful purpose.

Not sure how!  Tour builders’ models to see how the rooms are furnished.

Remember builders are experts on preparing their product for prospective buyers.

Also closets should be neat and organized. And get rid of things you haven’t worn in years.

If your home has been painted recently, consider yourself ahead of the game. If not, take a paintbrush to the rooms that need it most. Sellers who paint the interior of their home will see a large return on the investment.

There is nothing like neutral paint on the walls, trim and doors and it’s worth its weight in gold and gives the appearance of a clean and new home.

The cost: Anywhere from $12 to $50 per gallon for paint, plus another $10 to $50 for other painting supplies (primer, brushes, dropcloths, etc.)

  1. Scrub and Deodorize

Make sure your house or condo shines from top to bottom.

Cleaning and deodorizing a home before every showing is a must!

The goal is to help buyers imagine themselves living in the home.

If buyers see an unkempt home or smell something when they first walk in, they become turned off immediately. It spoils that first impression.

Have the house professionally cleaned so that everything is spotless — windows, sliding glass door tracks, garage, basement, ceiling fans, etc.

Bake something in the oven such as cookies or a pie, bringing cinnamon sticks to a slow boil in a pot of water or using air freshener to mask smells before each showing. Ridding the home of litter boxes is also a must.

The cost: Varies by the location and size of the home, but typically less than $100 to clean a 4-bedroom, 2,500-square-foot home. Cookie dough runs about $3.

  1. Enhance Curb Appeal

Whatever you do, do not overlook the home’s exterior when selling.

Curb appeal is the buyer’s first impression of your home.

And remember, you only have one chance to make a first impression.

Mow the lawn, make sure the sidewalk and driveway are free of clutter and debris, and ensure the house number is easily visible.

It may also be beneficial to pressure-clean the exterior of your home, driveway and sidewalk, if needed.

Another valuable low-cost solution is to use mulch or pinestraw.

It makes everything look trim and neat.

The cost: Mulch costs around $3 per bag and pinestraw around $5 per bale. The cost of renting a pressure washer varies, but you may be able to get one from a local hardware store for around $50 per day. It may cost double that to purchase a pressure washer.

Considering Buying a Newly Built Home?


Are you considering purchasing a new home in 2016? Did you know that in one of the fastest growing areas of the midlands there are nearly 300 new homes for sale? Have you considered how you will decide from so many homes which one will be right for you? Do you know which new homes are of the highest quality? If you have visited any of the new communities in the West Columbia, Lexington, Irmo, Chapin and Blythewood areas you have probably viewed the community and the homes under construction and that is a great first step. The question for you is who will represent your interests? Who will assist you in the home buying process and have your best interests in mind as you choose the right home for the right price. The M&R team has the answer for you. Our clients tell us the reason they chose us to assist them in buying their new home is the more than forty years we have been in business. During that time, we have developed a reputation as a company you can trust with a team of knowledgeable consultants that provide good advice and the ability to complete the sale. We will take the time to understand your needs. Also the steps we go through in the very beginning to make sure you are prepared and ready to purchase the home you have been dreaming about! That preparation includes understanding your lifestyle and future plans and how that will influence the community and home you will choose. At no cost to you, we will act as your representative and consultant in the new home buying process. We will take the time to assist you in choosing the right home for you. You will have access to each member of our team with over 40 years of experience in assisting new home buyers. This includes home inspectors and a licensed builder who can answer your questions and advise you all through the new home buying process. If you are planning on purchasing a new home, call me Gene Brazzell at 803-206-4616 or contact me on the web at and let me assist you in one of the most important purchases of your life, your new dream home. Let the M&R Realty Team with over 40 years of experience, serve your new home buying needs!

Move In by Christmas!

If you want to move in before Christmas, better hurry to this renovated home on The Avenues only two blocks from Krispy Kreme and three blocks from Zesto’s.  This Avenues bungalow has been renovated with updates with an open floor plan!  The living room has a fireplace and hardwood flooring  that opens into a dining room which has open access to a new kitchen.  The kitchen has new flooring, new cabinets, new countertops, new appliances, new water heater and light fixtures.  The laundry room is just off the kitchen and has new flooring and cabinets.  The tile bathroom has been renovated to include new vanity, mirror, fixtures and a new tile floor.  The bedrooms have good closet space, hardwood floors, fresh paint, new hardware and doors and the master bedroom has a walk in closet.  The fenced rear yard is spacious.  This home is convenient to downtown Columbia, USC, Vista, Riverwalk, Zoological Garden, interstates, dining shopping, medical, etc.  and did I mention just two blocks from Krispy Kreme!

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