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Category Guest Blogs

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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Inflation

Thanks to L. K. Benson for sharing this blog about inflation.

inflation is hitting the US hard

Inflation is an important financial concept to understand and has always been a critical factor in our long-term financial planning analysis for clients. It can be difficult to grasp how rising prices erode the purchasing power of your cash when the inflation rate is low and you don’t see and feel the effects of prices rising on a regular basis. That is exactly the environment we have been in for almost forty years, which can be seen clearly in the following chart:

Inflation

From 1983 to 2021, you can see a downward trend in the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which is the most frequently cited measure of inflation. The average CPI over that time was around 2% and it rarely spiked very high above that...

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organizing projects based on time

Organizing projects based on time

Thanks to Cindy Bernstein of Aim4Order for this episode of Tips from the Pros on organizing projects based on time.

No one seems to have enough time to do the things they want to do. But how much time do you have? Let’s take a look at some projects based on how long they take. Pick a project for the time you have available.

Organizing tasks to do in a weekend

Garage: You will need to take a lot of time to completely organize the garage. Sweep up the floor. Arrange things so that nothing sits on the floor, and everything is on shelves. Throw out or donate what you don’t need. Put like things together (sports equipment, for example).

Basement: Similar to the garage. Make sure everything has a home. If there isn’t enough room, you need to purge something.

Attic: Similar ...

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Understanding plant tags: light, zones, natives and more

Understanding plant tags: light, zones, natives and more

Understanding plant tags: light, zones, natives and more

Thanks to the University of Maryland/Maryland Grows this informative article about understanding plant tags.

Understanding plant tags

Gardening beginners and pros alike can get flummoxed by plant tag terminology. What do words such as full-sun, zone, native and determinate mean? Allow me to elucidate, um, explain. See, even I can make things complicated.

Light

Light is oh-so-important. Matching the right plant to the right lighting is crucial. So tags tell you how much light each plant needs to not just survive, but thrive. If a tag says “full sun” that means the plant needs at least 6 hours of sun a day.  If it says “full shade”, that means it wants deep shade...

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pesky gutter issues

Don’t Lose a Home Sale Over Pesky Gutter Issues

Thanks to Clean Sweep for this episode of Tips from the Pros about pesky gutter issues.

When you picture the most sought after features of a home, you probably imagine things like brand new kitchen appliances, a spacious deck, or plenty of yard space. It’s likely that functioning gutters wouldn’t be anywhere near the top of the list. The only time we really think about our gutters is when they are malfunctioning. However, malfunctioning gutters can decrease the value of clients attempting to sell their home and introduce a slew of issues for new homeowners.

The Importance of Functioning Gutters

Every year, homeowners’ insurance companies pay out roughly $2.5 billion in water damage-related losses. 37% of homeowners have claimed losses due to water issues...

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living with less

Living with Less

Thanks to Cindy Bernstein of Aim4Order for this episode of Tips from the Pros on living with less.

Believe it or not, there are people who live in homes that are 900 square feet. That’s the size of one room in many homes. Living with less… how can you do it? It starts with your mindset.

Your Mindset

You have to start with a “letting go” mentality. Purge things you don’t need or use. Do it objectively without getting sentimental about belongings in your home. If you can’t be objective, call a friend or family member to help you make the tough decisions.

There can be joy in living without a lot of belongings. It’s easier to keep your home clean, for one thing. Clutter brings its own stress and anxiety...

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chimney sweep can protect

A Chimney Sweep Can Protect in the Off-Season

Thanks to Clean Sweep for this episode of Tips from the Pros about how a chimney sweep can protect you in the off-season.

Apart from the occasional chilly spring night, we have largely exited fireplace season. And will be shifting our focus to staying comfortable by keeping cool air inside of the house instead of warm air. Even still, springtime makes the perfect time to catch up on your chimney maintenance. This way, you’re ready to go in early fall when the time comes to light up the fireplace once again. Here are the main advantages of scheduling your chimney service right now!

Easy Scheduling

During April Showers, gutter maintenance is the main service homeowners seek from our team...

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health benefits of decluttering your home

Health benefits of decluttering 

Thanks to Cindy Bernstein of Aim4Order for this episode of Tips from the Pros on health benefits of decluttering.

Believe it or not, there are many health benefits of decluttering. It’s more than just making your home more organized, it can actually make positive changes in your health. The changes may be slight or dramatic depending on the situation.

Studies prove it

2016 study from the University of New Mexico discovered that clutter which created a “chaotic and disorderly living space,” has a negative impact on the subject’s ability to feel good. 

There is the obvious benefit of having clear walkways in your home. Stacks of papers or other things on stairs or in hallways can be dangerous, especially for seniors...

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2022 Tax Legislation Update

Thanks to L. K. Benson for sharing this blog on updates on tax legislation.

There have been some notable updates on tax legislation recently and we wanted to provide a quick overview here:

SECURE Act Proposed Regulations

On February 23, 2022, the IRS issued proposed regulations to reflect the changes to the Internal Revenue Code made by the SECURE Act. The SECURE Act was signed into law back in December 2019 and I wrote about the changes it contained here. The most significant of those changes was the new 10-year rule for inherited IRAs. 

Prior to passage of the SECURE Act, most non-spouse beneficiaries of a retirement account were eligible to “stretch” the distributions from that IRA account over their life expectancy...

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What are local ecotype plants and why do they matter to pollinators?

Thanks to the University of Maryland/Maryland Grows this informative article on local ecotype plants.

With the planting season upon us, many of us are starting to think about what flowers may be the best for our gardens and pollinators. We may have started to look into floral mixes or even flower starts. Probably there are too many choices and now we’re overwhelmed and don’t know what to do. In previous posts, we talked about the importance of diverse floral choices. Native species are appropriate when choosing plants for pollinators. There is, however, an extra twist that is becoming more mainstream in this story. Today I want to talk about it. Let’s chat about local ecotypes. What they are. What they contribute. And, how to get them (and how to not get them).

What are local ...

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