Blog :: 01-2015

JUMPFEST - A Winter Festival

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It is almost time to head down to the ski jumps and watch future Olympians race down the jump and soar into the air.

This year the festival will start on January 30th with many activities including a restaurant week, gallery openings, sales, ice carving, human dog sled race, chili cook off, artisan sale and many more special events. 

The main attraction will be the 89th Annual Salisbury Ski Jumps on February 6-8, including a Target jump under the lights on Friday night. So come on out, dress warmly, and enjoy the many activities offered. Don't forget to bring your cow bell to cheer the jumpers on.

For more information and a full schedule check out awinterfestival.com and jumpfest.org.

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    HGTV Tips on Selling Your House

    HGTV has put together a list of their top tips for selling your house - this week, we share the top 5:

    1. The first impression is the only impression. No matter how good the interior of your home looks, buyers have already judged your home before walking through the door. 

    2. Always be ready to show. Your house needs to be "show-ready" at all times - you never know when your buyer is going to walk through the door. 

    3. The kitchen comes first. You're not actually selling your house, you're selling your kitchen - that's how important it is. 

    4. Take the home out of your house. One of the most important things to do when selling your house is to de-personalize it. 

    5. Don't over-upgrade. Quick fixes before selling always pay off. Mammoth makeovers, not so much. 

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      New Year's Resolutions

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      It may not come as a surprise that, on average, most people only stick to their New Year's resolutions for 3 days.

      A woman took that statistic as a challenge and resolved to minimize her possessions, removing one item from her house every day for 365 days. She decided her stuff was a burden, and she spent too much time dealing with it. Over the last 3 years, she has removed a thousand things from her house, following these simple guidelines:

      o Buy less and stop the flow of stuff coming in.

      o Have a plan of how to sell, recycle or donate.

      o Only keep what you love and what you use.

      o Don't hold on to items for the future. Trust me, the kids aren't going to want it.

      Whether as a challenge or as preparation to sell your house, decluttering may be a resolution worth keeping all year long.

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        Our Community Organizations

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        We at Best & Cavallaro are very grateful to the many nonprofit organizations and volunteers who work tirelessly to help others. We could fill 20 blogs describing these organizations and their good and necessary works. But a good number of them, and details on what they accomplish, can be found in the Salisbury Annual Report found at www.salisburyct.us under "Town Documents."

        Here are just a few websites of local organizations that deserve our recognition:

        Salisbury Family Services salisburyfamilyservices.org

        Salisbury VNA salisburyvna.org

        Scoville Library scovillelibrary.org

        Chore Service choreservice.org

        The Corner Food Pantry thecornerfoodpantry.org

        Women's Support Services wssdv.org

        To all the volunteers and nonprofit organizations who serve our community, we at Best & Cavallaro thank you for your dedication and service to the community at large.

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          Give Locally

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          In this time of giving it is important to remember those organizations who help others such as the Corner Food Pantry (formerly known as OWL's Kitchen). They have been providing healthy and nutritious food with a smile for those in need in the Tri-State area for over twenty years.

          They are a volunteer organization based in Lakeville that provides ingredients for more than 10,000 meals per month. They happily accept donations of food and money and are always looking for volunteers to assist them with stocking shelves and distributing food. They are a valuable local organization that fills an important need in the area. Please check out their website to learn more about what they do and to see how you can help: thecornerfoodpantry.org

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            Thanksgiving In The Country

            Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday and when I moved from NY to Lakeville, I thought this was the perfect place to celebrate. So a tradition was born that is still going strong 23 years later.

            Trading the Macy's Day Parade for a brisk, multi-generational walk with dogs in tow, we began the day hiking the Appalachian Trail. A few years later we tried Selleck Hill and, as the clan got bigger (and older), we walked along Twin Lakes, which is spectacular this time of year. After our Thanksgiving feast we regrouped and walked to enjoy the beauty of Lakeville Lake, returning home to a warm fire and pumpkin pie. Each venue had its own special beauty.

            What began as a group of 10 has blossomed to 34. My sister and I conceded it was time to find a bigger place to gather so we rented the Town Grove at Lakeville Lake last year -- it was a great place to be with family and friends.

            There are so many wonderful choices to enjoy for the rest of the weekend: Bartholomew's Cobble, the Rail Trail and the Parade of Lights in Millerton, the area shops and restaurants just scratch the surface. It just doesn't get much better than Thanksgiving in the country!

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              Are Your Gutters Ready

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              This is the time of year to be vigilant about clearing your gutters because keeping them clean helps avoid major home repairs.

              The essential service gutters provide is controlling the water around your home, and clogged gutters are the number one reason for basement water problems. You want to avoid having roof water accumulate around the foundation, which can weaken the footings and lead to cracks.

              This is especially true in the winter when water around the foundation can freeze and cause severe damage to the foundation walls.

              Another potential hazard is ice dams which can form on top of clogged gutters. When water running off the roof is blocked by the frozen snow and backs up into the house, major damage can occur to your walls and ceiling.

              So get out that ladder, or get someone else to get out the ladder, but make this chore a priority.

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                Looking For Kitchen Ideas

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                Thinking of renovating your kitchen? Looking for a few fresh ideas to make a slight change?

                Come to the 12th Annual Kitchen Tour on Saturday, November 1, 2014 from 10 am-4 pm (rain or shine) to benefit the Housatonic Musical Theatre Society of Housatonic Valley Regional High School.

                This year's Tour offers five unique homes in Lakeville and Sharon, CT. The featured kitchens offer many different renovating and decorating ideas. While on the tour, you will receive information about each kitchen including designers, builders, and materials -- a handy reference for later use. There will also be foods to sample at each house, generously donated by local restaurants and caterers.

                Tickets ($40 each) may be purchased online at www.HMTS.org or at the Salisbury, Sharon, and Kent pharmacies. Tickets will also be available for purchase on the day of the event at the pharmacies and at each kitchen.

                Best and Cavallaro Real Estate is a proud sponsor of the HMTS Kitchen Tour.

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                  Winter Ready

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                  The great things about winter are pulling out your fab boot collection and swimming in-doors at Hotch-kiss. Getting your house ready for winter, however, is about as much fun as when your mother had you clean your room as a kid. Or sorting socks. Anyway, it's starting to get cold, so here we go:

                  o Get your furnace cleaned, your chimney swept and test your roof coils.

                  o Order your firewood.

                  o The mice are running for your walls so plan accordingly.

                  o Swap lawn games for shovels and check the braces on your snowshoes.

                  o Put the hoses away, drained.

                  o Turn off your outside water.

                  o Clear drains and gutters of debris and leaves.

                  o Pop out screens and replace with storm windows.

                  o Caulking is the fun part, so daub away.

                  Then you can plan to cozy up in front of the fire and catch up on Netflix...

                   

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                    Your Chirping Smoke Alarm

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                    Ever been annoyed out of a sound sleep by the impetuous chirping of the smoke or carbon monoxide alarm? It's a maddening intrusion, often meaning the battery needs to be replaced.

                    On your things-to-do list before winter sets in: check all battery-operated smoke alarms by pressing the little button on the alarm casing. Keeping fresh batteries on hand is a prudent measure. Lithium batteries have a longer life than the more common 9-volt type and, although more expensive, worthwhile. When in doubt about how to change a battery in both types of alarms check out smoke alarms on the Internet for a demonstration on how to replace correctly. Call your electrician if you have problems with hard-wired alarms.

                    The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recom-mends checking smoke detectors monthly and replacing them every 10 years. According to NFPA, having a working smoke alarm cuts the chances of dying in a fire in half. Almost two-thirds of home fire deaths were from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.

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                      Preparing For A Showing

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                      Your property is listed with a real estate broker and agent that you trust. You get the phone call requesting a showing. What do you need to do?

                      While the listing agent is responsible for setting up and conducting the showings, you, the owner, are in the best position to make the property look its very best.

                      Here are a few suggestions:

                      1. Turn on every light in the house, even if it is a sunny day. (Make sure that light fixtures and lamps have working light bulbs).

                      2. Open all the curtains, and lift (don't just open) window blinds.

                      3. Make sure the kitchen and bathrooms are clean and neat.

                      4. Make the beds.

                      5. Turn up the heat if it is wintertime.

                      6. Even if you don't have time to dust, make sure everything is picked up.

                      7. Take pets with you when you vacate for the showing.

                      8. Vacate for the showing. (No buyer can focus on the property if the owner is proudly going on about some favorite aspect).

                      With your help, your house can get the best possible showing.

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                        Fireplace Tips & Safety

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                        Autumn brings brisk nights, and nothing makes a home feel cozier than a fire. Your fireplace needs regular care and cleaning to assure a safe and efficient fire. Creo­sote, a flammable, tarlike substance, accumulates in the chimney and flue and should be removed by a professional. Here are some tips for keeping your fireplace and its accessories clean throughout the season:

                        o Vacuum or dust the hearth area weekly to prevent dust and soot buildup.

                        o Do not sweep or vacuum until all the embers have been extinguished for at least 12 hours.

                        o Burn only seasoned, well-dried wood to minimize dangerous creosote buildup.

                        o Inspect the firebox, flue, and chimney annually for creosote accumulation.

                        o Do not use water to drown a fire unless there is an emergency. It will make a paste of the ashes, which is difficult to remove.

                        o Never use an abrasive cleanser inside the fireplace. Many leave a flammable residue.

                        o When cleaning your fireplace, sprinkle damp coffee grounds over the cooled ashes to keep down the dust.

                        Most of all, enjoy those evening firesides safely.

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