William Raveis Real Estate and Home Services



Posted by Deborah Schilling on 8/3/2017

Being friendly with neighbors and others in your community can often open up doors -- both literally and figuratively -- and attract resources to you that were previously unavailable or unknown. Although networking is a term often associated with professional advancement, business marketing, or salesmanship, there are countless ways it can apply to your everyday life. While some people are ambivalent about the idea of using "small talk" as a conversation starter, you'd be surprised at how beneficial it can be in cultivating neighbor relationships, melting away social barriers, and discovering solutions to problems. Here are three ways that networking can benefit you and your family:

  1. Finding Contractors and Service Providers: If you own a home or are considering buying one, you're probably going to eventually need a variety of essential services, ranging from electrical repairs and plumbing to pest control and house cleaning. Having a network of people you can turn to for referrals, ideas, and suggestions can make a world of difference in your ability to find the best person or company for the job or project. When you can tap into the collective experiences of people you know and trust, you're expanding your resources immensely and gaining access to a wealth of valuable information.
  2. Parenting Solutions: If you're a parent (or planning to become one), you'll frequently be looking for resources and ideas for keeping your children entertained, busy, healthy, and challenged. By staying in touch and connected with other parents in your neighborhood, it can be much easier to discover family-oriented activities, educational programs, pediatricians, and child care services. Whether you're looking for a responsible baby sitter or a neighborhood playgroup, developing and maintaining an active social network can make your life easier and less frustrating.
  3. What's going on in the neighborhood? By making it a habit to engage your neighbors in "small talk", occasionally, you can pick up a lot of tips, ideas, and updates that can save you money, keep your family safe, or even help a neighbor in need. Keeping the lines of communication open can also help thwart residential crime and maintain the overall quality of life in your area. Being connected with people on your street creates a greater sense of community, which makes your neighborhood feel friendlier, safer, and more closely knit. There are also economic benefits to knowing your neighbors, such as learning about upcoming neighborhood yard sales you could participate in. You may also hear about beneficial things like group discounts, such as roofing services, driveway sealing, lawn mowing, or house painting.
Outside of your immediate neighborhood, it can also pay to join local parent groups, non-profit organizations, fitness clubs, and continuing education classes. While the concept of being a "lone wolf" may seem intriguing, mysterious, or romantic to some, people are meant to be social animals; they function best when bonding, working together, and sharing ideas. That's not to say that we don't all occasionally need our "alone time," but establishing a healthy balance between the two can help us enjoy the best of both worlds.




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Posted by Deborah Schilling on 7/27/2017

Beautiful home libraries are more than storage spaces. Beautiful home libraries encourage learning, inner growth and development. Choose the right shelving and the libraries provide your home an elegant charm. Despite their size, home libraries that take up an entire long wall aren't always expensive.

Building your beautiful home library

Less expensive home libraries call for a little DIY skills. For example, you could purchase four six-foot bookcases from your local office superstore and line the bookcases up side-by-side. It takes about half an hour to build each bookcase. Keep extra shelving knobs in a bag or drawer.

Over time,knobs can bend or get lost. You'll keep your home library shelves from slipping or leaning by replacing damaged or missing knobs. As a tip, make sure that floors you build the bookcases on is flat, as these bookcases can top over if they are placed on uneven flooring. Ebony and cherry wood shelving offers an elegant feel.

White shelving works well in rooms that are painted with neutral colors. Lighter colored bookcases also work well in rooms that are topped with crown molding. Some built in shelves come in white. What you'll get with built in shelving is a casual, modern look.

So many beautiful home library options

Paint wall libraries the same color as the other walls in the room. As an example, you could paint your wall library ocean or turquoise blue, a soft yellow or a mild green. Place a matching colored sectional sofa in the room and decorate the sofa with fashionable pillows.

Tall finished and unfinished chest drawers, the kind that you pick up from secondhand stores and flea markets, bring out the personality in smaller rooms. Hang original oil paintings on both sides of the chest. Open chest drawers wide to show off a library full of large sized, hard cover books. If you're an art lover, place arts books at the center of the chest.

Here's another option. Turn one side of your home office or study into a spectacular library. Decorate your office or study with an antique wood desk and leather,high back chair. Add in an antique coffee table and cabriole sofa. Place your home library next to the sofa. Put the sofa and library so that they face the largest window in the room. You'll love taking in natural outdoor views while you read an entertaining book, work on a new novel, check the mail or finish up a project.

Remember your children. In your children's bedroom, use the space between short windows as library shelves. You could also install narrow three shelf bookcases next to the windows. Section off books with stuffed animals or hand crafted pottery pieces.

There are so many ways to add a beautiful home library to your house. Benefits include a personal history of literacy promotion. After all, print books are becoming more a rarity in today's digital age. But, that doesn't decrease the value of print books.

A way that you can celebrate books and develop a love for ongoing learning is to build your own beautiful home library. Stick to using your library as a place to spotlight your favorite books. Add in decorative knick knacks and family portraits and, before long, your home library might become the favorite place in your home.





Posted by Deborah Schilling on 7/20/2017

Semi-modern row houses have their roots in London. It was during the 1700s that the first row houses were constructed. Similar to apartment homes, row houses reduce the amount of space that it takes to house people.

Row houses offer surprisingly stylish amenities

The dwellings also make it easy to reach neighbors. For some people, it's hard to feel alone while living in a row house. Additionally, as they did when they were first erected, row houses offer as much interior space as traditional single homes.

If there are drawbacks with row houses, it's the narrow hallways that the houses may have. On the other hand, you might absolutely love narrow hallways in a row house. Pictures hung on walls lining both sides of hallways can attract your attention,delighting  you with appreciation as you make your way through the house.

In addition to narrow passageways, row houses are also known for having hardwood floors. For example, a New York City, Philadelphia or Baltimore brownstone might come with cherry hardwood floors. More amenities that you can find and enjoy while living in a row house include:

  • Staircases that turn the higher up they go - Row houses with narrow staircases offer safety in that they make it easy to regain balance by placing your hands against the walls.
  • Intimate dining rooms - You won't feel far away from family and friends while eating or entertaining in a row house dining room. If there's a window in the room, you can observe a bird as it plays or takes flight just outside your home.
  • Antique fireplaces - Red brick might surround your row house fireplace. Add in an antique stove if the kitchen is near the fireplace and you could feel like you've stepped back in time even while you enjoy modern amenities in the house.
  • Large windows - Modern windows introduce lots of light inside your row house. You may love the natural light.
  • Simple ceiling designs - You might not spot many row houses with popcorn ceilings. But, don't be surprised if you come across row houses with simply designed crown molded ceilings.
  • Open floor plans - Don't be surprised if your row house doesn't have lots of doors. These houses are often designed with open floor plans.
  • Multi-levels - With row houses, you may get a finished basement and a finished attic, giving you more room to accommodate overnight guests.

Row houses are a bountiful history

It's not just their stylish exterior, row houses are a great buy because of their access to entertainment, dining and work environments. Live in Baltimore, Maryland, the city in America that has the most row houses, and you can enjoy a broad range of amenities.

There are row houses that are rich with history. In fact, some row houses were integral to the Underground Railroad. Other row houses are former homes of history makers like community and social leaders, educators, scientists and entertainers.





Posted by Deborah Schilling on 7/13/2017

Once you've made the transition from renter to homeowner, life is never the same again! While new responsibilities like home repairs and paying property taxes may sometimes feel like a burden, there are plenty of benefits that should outweigh the costs.

For example, home ownership usually brings with it tax advantages and investment features that can work in your favor. Getting guidance from a licensed tax advisor and financial consultant can help make sure you're getting the maximum return on your real estate investment.

Tips For House Hunters

If you're in the process of buying or looking for a new house, an experienced real estate agent (and home inspector) can be a valuable resource when evaluating the condition of a home, estimating the current market value of the property, and predicting the growth potential of the neighborhood. As you may already know, the location of a property is one of the most important aspects of its current and future value.

Seller disclosure laws, which vary from one state to the next, can offer buyers some measure of protection against costly problems, health or safety hazards, or quality of life issues down the road.

There are two reasons that seller disclosure requirements don't always protect home buyers from property flaws and repair problems: seller dishonesty or hidden conditions sellers aren't aware of. They can't reveal issues they don't know about, and in some cases problems are hidden behind walls, ceilings, and other places.

As mentioned, a potential obstacle to getting the full story about a home's history, flaws, and weaknesses is the seller's unwillingness to be completely honest. Even though they're opening themselves up to a potential lawsuit if they fail to reveal known problems with the property, they may risk it if they think full disclosure may derail their chances to sell the house or get top dollar for it.

From the buyer's standpoint, the best advice to keep in mind is caveat emptor: "Let the buyer beware." Your real estate agent can fill you in on the details of exactly what a seller needs to disclose, in terms of flaws, defects, hazards, damage, repairs, infestations, and even bizarre things like paranormal activity, suicides or crimes that occurred in the house. You'll also want to know things like whether the property is in a designated flood plain, whether there are any boundary line disputes, and if there are known toxic substances on the premises or underground.

While there are many variations in seller disclosure forms (depending on state laws and local conditions), there are also standard questions in most forms. As a side note, some localities may require disclosure about hazards such as earthquakes, fires, or other potential natural disasters.

You can get an overall idea of what's included by doing an online search for property disclosure forms. Generally speaking, the most reliable sources of information are your real estate agent, a real estate attorney, or your state's Department of State.





Posted by Deborah Schilling on 7/6/2017

Do you keep tabs on your HVAC system regularly? For many people, the heating and cooling system in their homes is an out of sight out of mind item. Only when there is a problem with the system do people think about it. 


The important thing for you to remember is that you donít need to wait for an issue to arise for you to take continual care of your HVAC system. You can take action to continually have a supply of efficient, uninterrupted heating and cooling. With the right maintenance, your system will also run more efficiently as well. Keep the tips in mind below and show your HVAC system some love. 


Keep Regular Maintenance Appointments


As with most other things that we own, a little tune up from time to time helps to keep things running smoothly. You can keep a checklist of the monthly and annual tasks that you should complete for your HVAC system. You could ask your oil or gas company for some advice on regular tasks that you should complete as well. These could include everything from clearing out leaves and grass to changing air filters. Doing these things will not only help your utility bills and HVAC system performance, but can also help you to ward off allergens that may cause bothersome symptoms right inside your home.


Tame The Trees


While it can be tempting to want to disguise your outdoor units with trees and shrubs, these can do some damage. You should make a habit to trim any nearby bushes to your units as well as clear away debris. Be sure that the system isnít clogged with pollen, grass clippings, and dust. There should be at least a 2-foot clearing around the unit to prevent damage and airflow restriction.


Inspect Before Each Season


At the end of each season, you should make a point to inspect your HVAC system. See what the system looks like from the outside. Is the system doing its job as far as heating and cooling go on the inside of your home? Does the system sound extra labored while itís running? If there doesnít seem to be enough airflow or there is too much noise coming from the system, then you could have a problem with your system. You may need to call in a qualified professional to help you remove debris from your system, as leaves and branches can get into the coils of it, severely impairing the systemĎs function. A professional can also help you to learn how to properly clean the HVAC system yourself.


With a little effort, youíll save big in many ways just by paying close attention to your HVAC system.




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Deborah Schilling
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