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Category Blogs I Follow

learn about creosote and how it can effect the sale of your home

What Is Creosote, and How Can It Impact a Home Sale This Fall?

Thanks to Clean Sweep for this episode of Tips from the Pros. This issue is on creosote.

All realtors know to make sure the HVAC system is working to perfection and the caulk in the bathtub is touched up. However, many totally gloss over one of the most potentially dangerous parts of the home: the chimney. Over time, even well-maintained chimneys can accumulate creosote build-up on the inside. Unfortunately, home inspectors are generally looking for obvious signs of wear and damage during the chimney portion of their examination. That means that any creosote build-ups outside of the naked eye may be glossed over altogether. Naturally, that doesn’t make creosote buildup any less dangerous.

Creosote 101

Creosote is a flammable and dangerous buildup that accumulates on the insid...

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fall flowers include asters like these purple ones

Goldenrods & asters: Important fall flowers for pollinators

Thanks to the University of Maryland/Maryland Grows this informative article about adapting to fall flowers for pollinators.

With the fall very clearly upon us, we tend to think more about falling leaves than flowers. Indeed, the big flower boom is ending, with all early-season flowers well past flowering. However, fall is a very important season for many pollinators. They still require food and shelter in preparation for the winter. In this blog, I would like to take a little bit of time to go over the importance of fall resources for pollinators. You’ll learn what you can do to make sure they are available in your green spaces.

Why is fall special in nature?

The end of summer/fall is a special time for many organisms in our temperate regions...

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Man inspecting a roof, protect your home with a healthy roof

2 Investments to Protect Your Home This Autumn and Winter

Thanks to Clean Sweep for this episode of Tips from the Pros. This issue is on how to protect your home this autumn and winter.

As the sun sets on the summer of 2022, we’re entering our favorite time of year: fireplace season! If your home is looking a little worse for wear, now is the time to repair. Colder months and harsher weather are on the horizon. The start of autumn is the perfect time to make a few home investments that will keep you and your family protected all winter long.

Chimney Repairs

Your chimney is both a critical part of the structure of your home and a potential safety hazard. A crack in the structure of your chimney or creosote build-up can be problematic. It can create a chimney that is a risk every time you light a log...

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MD gardeners adapting to climate change

Thanks to the University of Maryland/Maryland Grows this informative article about adapting to climate change. All images are from University of Maryland/Maryland Grows.

Maryland gardeners adapting to climate change

How are Maryland gardeners adapting their gardens and green spaces to climate change? We posed this question to our colleagues in the University of Maryland College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and several of them shared examples of everything from composting and food gardening to planting trees and native plants, installing rain gardens, and more.

Action on climate change is needed on a large scale, and our individual actions at home and in our communities all add up too...

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four gutter-related problems

4 Gutter-Related Problems that Could Slow a Home Sale

Thanks to Clean Sweep for this episode of Tips from the Pros on gutter-related problems.

You’re probably already familiar with our chimney cleaning and inspection services that make us a top choice for realtors throughout the Baltimore region. But that’s not all Clean Sweep brings to the table. We also offer a variety of services to ensure your client’s gutters are in top shape prior to a transfer of ownership.

Gutters certainly are not the most glamorous part of the home you are selling. That being said, it doesn’t make them any less important. When it comes to gutters, small issues in the present can mean catastrophe in the future. Avoid risks of basement flooding, roof damage, and foundation cracking...

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National Moth Week, hummingbird clearwing

Celebrate National Moth Week

Thanks to the University of Maryland/Maryland Grows this informative article about National Moth Week. All images are from University of Maryland/Maryland Grows.

The last full week of July is National Moth Week. I encourage everyone to take a closer look at the vast diversity of moths that fill our natural world. Butterflies and moths belong to the same insect group, but moths far outnumber butterflies in species diversity. Since many moths have muted colors or fly at night, we’re largely unaware of this bounty. Let’s take a whirlwind appreciation tour of the group to illustrate the amazing, bizarre, and quirky features of this major insect order.

National Moth Week, rosy maple moth
Rosy Maple Moth
National Moth Week, coffee loving Pyrausta moth
Coffee loving Pyrausta moth.

Moth adults come in all shapes and sizes, and like butterflies, wings are their ...

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signs of mold

Watch Out for These Signs of Mold!

Thanks to Clean Sweep for this episode of Tips from the Pros on recognizing signs of mold.

Realtors work hard to earn and maintain their reputation with homebuyers and sellers alike. As such, you are likely no stranger to helping clients check every box to ensure their needs are met. Along your journey of advocating for your clients during a transfer of homeownership, be sure to remember the potential for hidden dangers lurking inside the home. Without a keen attention to detail, you could be missing something as serious as a hidden mold infestation.

Mold Growth

Let’s take a look at a few of the signs of mold growth.

  1. Visible Mold: The most obvious sign of a mold problem is visible growth throughout the home...
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organize computer files

Organize Computer Files

Thanks to Cindy Bernstein of Aim4Order for this episode of Tips from the Pros on how to organize computer files.

More people are using their computers to keep track of everything these days, QuickBooks for record keeping, calendars for appointments, work files and more. It is important to organize computer files so you can find them again if you need them.

Trash removal

The first step is to get rid of old files you don’t need any more. It’s not necessary to keep every letter you’ve ever written. If they are really old, you probably don’t need them any longer. Information is probably outdated and no longer relevant.


Email builds up in your inbox. If you don’t go through your emails every now and then, it can become quite a chore.

Visit your inbox regu...

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Manage bagworms now photo

Manage bagworms now so they don’t harm trees

Thanks to the University of Maryland/Maryland Grows this informative article about how to manage bagworms.


“Why are the pinecones on my tree moving?” a client asks.
“Because those aren’t pinecones, they’re bagworms,” I reply.  

Dangling from evergreens like teardrop-shaped Christmas tree ornaments, bagworms cause many a homeowner to scratch their head in wonder. Pinecones that dance?

Manage bagworms now
Bagworms dangle from a juniper branch.
Image Credit: Erik Rebek, Bugwood

But the tell-tale thinning of trees that can follow is no laughing matter. Covered with bits of needles and leaves, the bags that give bagworms their name serve as protection for the caterpillars inside. Bagworm caterpillars are the juvenile form of a moth.  

That sounds innocent enough, but like al...

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myths about chimney cleaning

Busting 4 Myths About Chimney Cleanings and Home Sales

Thanks to Clean Sweep for this episode of Tips from the Pros on myths about chimney cleanings and home sales.

Is it okay to DIY chimney cleaning? Are homebuyers really concerned about the safety of a chimney before signing on the dotted line? Can a home inspector detect all the potential issues with a chimney? If you ask these questions to a variety of people, you are bound to receive a variety of responses. However, there are correct answers to each of them! As such, let’s bust a few of the most common chimney myths as they relate to home sales.

Sellers Can Simply DIY Their Chimney Cleaning

This myth is just as false as it is dangerous for everyone involved. Any chimney cleaning or chimney inspection services should be completed by a certified and trained chimney sweep...

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