March Home Tips

Hello, Everyone! If you’re considering the purchase of an extended warranty, do confirm that the extension begins after the end of the initial warranty. Consumer Reports discovered that most extended warranties overlap with the original. Gentle Giant is offering “Free and Clear Storage” in the Boston area to help Sellers declutter their houses in preparation for selling. Gentle Giant will provide 2 storage vaults free for 3 months. And if any of your items need restoration, their “Store and Restore” policy will give you $150 off any project costing $450 or more. This week is Boston Design Week and Jodi and Alex Robbins will be hosting an event at their lovely furniture store at 357 Huron Ave, in Huron Village in Cambridge. The topic for the evening, with answers to any of your questions, will be “De-mystifying Custom and Made-to-Order Furniture and Cabinetry.” Snacks and drinks will be served; 6-8 pm, on Thursday, March 26th. If you haven’t visited their store yet, it’s a must! Best, Bonny

February Home Tips

Hello, Everyone, In this season of snow and more snow, the following seemed in order… According to Consumer Reports, the best rated snow blowers are Cub Cadet 31AH57S @ $1,500 and Troy-Bilt Vortex 2890 31AH55Q @ $1,300. The Cub Cadet 930SWE 31AH95SU @ $1,600 is close-behind second, but considerably more expensive. The top-rated Lithium AA battery is the Energizer Ultimate @ $2.50 (scored 96); the top-rated Alkaline AA is the Duracell Quantum @ $1.00 (scored 91). However, the Kirkland Signature from Costco receives a score of 84 but costs only 27 cents, so is considered the “CR best buy.” In the past week I have received several emails from clients, asking for names of people to remove snow and take care of ice dams. Most contractors seem to be busy 2 weeks in advance. J. Murray & Sons is very good about sending real estate agents emails about its snow removal/ice dam services, adding that it has 30 people on its staff; but I never have used them nor do I know anyone who has. With the hope that their service is both timely and good, here is their contact information for you to connect with them, if you like, to assess their qualifications: call 781-414-0605 or john@jmurrayandsons.com. Very best, Bonny

January Home Tips

Hello, Everyone, Last month my home tips were devoted to smoke detectors, and I included my recent experience with a 10-year irreplaceable battery smoke detector which didn’t work, but I couldn’t remember the brand. The brand was Kidde, so beware. If you’re thinking of remodeling, then check out this website, www.remodeling.hw.net/cost-vs-value, to give you the % return for 36 types of renovations, depending on which part of the country you live. Charles Viancin, a French designer, has developed food covers in fun designs like lily pads and sunflowers for use in a refrigerator, microwave or on a stove pan. They’re clever products to use instead of plastic wrap, etc. Amazon has them. Best, Bonny

December Home Tips

Hello, Everyone, Because it’s the season of lights, please check on line or call your local fire department to learn the proper placement of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in your house or condominium. Before I order a smoke/co inspection at the fire dept. for a closing, I check the house to see if it will pass inspection and am amazed at how many properties are missing detectors or have them installed in the wrong places. Be safe! According to a Cambridge firefighter, detectors have a limited lifespan even with the batteries changed, so do check on the effective age of your detector/s. Hard-wired detectors are age affected, too, and also will not work if a fuse in the system has blown. Last month the man I use to help with lots of things, including installation of detectors, purchased a detector from Home Depot. The detector was a new style, containing an irreplaceable battery that is supposed to last 10 years (there is no way to open the detector to change the battery). Before installing the detector, we tested it for sound and it didn’t work. Maybe it was only 1 defective detector out of a case of them or out of many cases, but one out of one not working is enough for me to avoid that type in the future. Happy holidays! Very best, Bonny

November Home Tips

Hello, Everyone, There are a number of water leak alarms that can be connected to your washing machine and to your water heater and are available for just a few dollars each to pricey ones. Remember to have your gutters cleaned and drain the outside faucets. The English Ivy, which strangles and kills trees, is easier to remove at this time of year. However, you might need a saw to cut into the thick vines at the base—an indication of how strong and pernicious these vines are. If you cut the vines on the bottom and are unable to pull the vines off the trees, at least the worst part of the vines has been cut. Happy Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving Turkeys