10 Christmas Light Tips to Save Time, Money, and (Possibly) Your Life

By: Lisa Kaplan Gordon Here’s how to light up your Christmas light display safely and economically. 1. Safety first. Emergency rooms are filled with home owners who lose fights with their holiday lights and fall off ladders or suffer electric shocks. To avoid the holiday black and blues, never hang lights solo; instead, work with a partner who holds the ladder. Also, avoid climbing on roofs after rain or snow. 2. Unpack carefully. Lights break and glass cuts. So unpack your lights gingerly, looking for and replacing broken bulbs along the way. 3. Extension cords are your friends. Splurge on heavy-duty extension cords that are UL-listed for outdoor use. To avoid overloading, only link five strings of lights together before plugging into an extension cord. 4. LEDs cost less to light. LED Christmas lights use roughly 70% to 90% less energy and last up to 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs. You can safely connect many more LED light strings than incandescents. Downside: Some think they don’t burn as brightly as incandescent bulbs. 5. Solar lights cost nothing to run. Solar Christmas lights are roughly four times more expensive to buy than LEDs, but they cost zero to run. They’re a bright-burning, green alternative. Downside: If there’s no sun during the day, there’s no light at night. The jury’s also still out on how long they last; they’re too new on the market for results. 6. Dismantle lights sooner than later. Sun, wind, rain, and snow all take their toll on Christmas lights. To extend the life of lights, take them down immediately after the holidays. The longer you leave the up, the sooner you’ll have to replace...

Holiday Cleaning: Tips for a Guest-Ready Home in Boynton Beach

By: Courtney Craig How deep do you go when cleaning for holiday guests? There are some who take it to the extreme — but you can have a clean home without going overboard. If you think wiping down countertops and fluffing a few pillows in advance of the guest onslaught will land you on Santa’s “nice” list this holiday season, check that list twice. The extreme cleaners (telephone buttons! vacuum brushes! remote controls!) featured in thisNew York Times article may make you feel like a slacker. But you can bring your home to sparkling guest-readiness without going overboard. A few tips from the “Times” will keep your home merry, bright, and clean: Scrub your entryway. Wipe down your front door, give the doormat a good shake, and make sure dust and dirt haven’t collected on floors and furniture legs. These are the first things guests will see when they arrive, so keeping them clean will guarantee a good first impression. Focus on the kitchen. People tend to gather around the food during the holidays, so make sure your kitchen looks and smells nice. Don’t forget to dust the light fixtures and flush sink drains with boiling water. Whatever you do, don’t neglect the loo. Don’t just wipe surfaces; break out the stiff-bristled brush and scouring powder to really scrub things clean. Sniff out bad smells. If you clean your home and something still doesn’t smell quite right, brew some coffee. The aroma will cover it up. HouseLogic also has a few cost-conscious cleaning tips to get your home holiday ready: Give your garbage disposal some love, considering how much it will “consume” this season. To cut...

Low Ball Offers a Thing of the Past

Last Year 10% of Realtors said they were receiving low ball offers on listed homes. Offers usually submitted by the buyer  was for 25 percent or more BELOW the list price. This number has dropped Drastically. According to a survey this March of 4,500 agents and brokers  No Realtors complained about low ball offers. The main problem now a days is the Sudden drop in inventory of for- sale homes has led to fewer homes available to sell. For Home Buyers who still think they have a chance of hitting it LUCKY with low ball offers, they are finding in many markets that their offers are more than often being rejected or countered closer to the original asking price. More homes are being realistically priced !...

South Florida’s Real Estate Market Inventory

Palm Beach County’s median sales price for an existing single-family home lifted in March 2012, driven in part by depleted inventory and voracious investors. A sales report the Florida Realtors released Thursday showed the number of homes sold in Palm Beach County and the state was up 24 percent and 29 percent, respectively, in March compared with February. And while Palm Beach County’s sales dipped 7 percent last month from March 2011, prices remained 4 percent higher in the year-over-year measure. In the last year   buyers have had to increase their offers by 10 percent,Cash is coming from everywhere and everyone is finally emptying their mattresses of money. Statewide, the median sales price for a single family home was  up 10 percent from last year. According to Palm Beach Realtors, the median sales price for a single-family home not in foreclosure or sold as a short sale was  up 3 percent from last year. We were expecting a seasonal increase in home listings, but a lack of inventory has suddenly become an issue in several markets with not enough homes for sale in relation to buyer interest,Home sales could be held back because of supply factors and not by demand. Palm Beach County’s inventory of single-family homes shrank to 6.2 months in March from 13.5 months last year. Inventory statewide was at just 5.9 months, down from 10.4 months in March 2011. More notable is the sharp drop in distressed homes – short sales and foreclosures – on the market. Just 1,090 distressed single-family homes were for sale in March, a 69 percent decrease from March last year. Distressed...