Trisha Bowen - RE/MAX Real Estate Center

Posted by Trisha Bowen on 12/29/2017

The cold weather is upon us once again. And while it does brings the joys of the holidays and serene, snowy landscapes, it also brings expensive heating and utility bills.

People who have electric heat watch their bills double or more during the winter months. And for those who burn oil, wood or pellets, fuel costs are rising year after year.

To help offset the increased costs of heating their home in the winter, many people have turned to cost-efficient solutions that can help mitigate the effects of rising prices.

In this article, we’ll discuss some of the most simple and effective ways to conserve heat in your home so that you can get the most out of your heating source each month.

Apply window insulating film

One of the cheapest and easiest ways to mitigate the amount of heat list from your windows is to use window insulating film. During the winter months, this quick fix can save you $15 per window during each season. If you have large, draft windows, these thin sheets of clear plastic can be quite effective.

Proper installation of these insulators makes them practically invisible unless you inspect the windows closely. To make them less obvious, use a hair dryer to shrink the film, making it airtight and removing any wrinkles in the plastic.

Work with sunlight

We get so few hours of daylight during the winter that the Sun doesn’t get much of a chance to heat up our homes.

Take advantage of natural light throughout by opening the curtains for rooms that receive direct sunlight at varying times of the day. Of course, this is hard to do if you are away from home for most of the day. In that case, it’s often better to keep northern- and eastern-facing curtains closed throughout the day.

Lower the thermostat at night

According to a study by the U.S. Department of Energy, you can save up to 10% a year on heating by lowering your thermostat by 10°F for 8 hours overnight. This is potentially a huge amount of savings for those who don’t mind bundling up in bed during the night, or for those who can control the heat in different parts of their home, heating only their bedroom overnight.

Seal up cracks and holes in your home

Before the cold weather hits, take a walk around the interior and exterior of your home and search for cracks and holes to seal up. Sometimes outdoor lines and pipes are sealed with caulk that has since cracked and fallen away. Using an expanding foam will ensure the cracks stay closed and keep the cold air out.

Similarly, check the doors of your home for sealed weatherstripping. On a cold day, you can often feel a draft by putting your hand near the bottom of your doors. To reduce this draft, you can buy one of many types of weatherstripping.

Felt strips can be bought in large rolls, but typically only last for a year or two. V-strips tend to be the most durable.

Using these four inexpensive methods, you can start saving today on your home heating bill and be prepared for the coming months.

Tags: Save Money   winter   heat   home heating  
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Posted by Trisha Bowen on 12/31/2016

Selling or buying a home in the winter time seems counterintuitive to many of us. Everything seems to slow down during the colder months. Roads are made slippery with snow, animals go into hibernation, and humans spend their long evenings indoors having Netflix marathons. It seems only natural that houses would not sell as well in the winter.

However, recent data shows that homes listed between December 21 and March 21 are the most likely to sell within six months. On average, homes listed during those three months are on the market for 26 days compared with 32 days for spring and summer, and 34 days for fall.

In pre-internet times, when people had to commute to see a home, it may have been more difficult to sell your house when the days are shorter and temperature colder. However, now that countless homes are just a click away, it has become much easier to shop for your dream home during the winter.

Benefits of Selling a House in the Winter Time

Now that we’ve talked about the data, let’s discuss some of the other reasons you might want to sell a home during the winter.

  1. Easy curb appeal.  Depending on where you live in the U.S., you might benefit from not having to put too much extra effort into landscaping. The grass won’t need to be mowed as frequently and you don’t have to worry about caring for flowering plants. Plus, if you live in a place where it snows, having a home that looks warm and cozy covered in snow adds a lot of free curb appeal.

  2. Less competition. Since most people assume they shouldn’t list their home in the winter, that means you’ll have fewer houses to compete with on online listings.

  3. Necessity. Most people don’t choose to move in the winter. It can be difficult to commute and move boxes in the cold, and dealing with utilities can be harder. Some people are relocated by their jobs to start the new year in a new location. Others may need to find a home quickly for others reasons. Either way, a buyer’s short timeline is another incentive for them to buy your home now.

How to Prepare a Home for Sale in the Winter

  1. Handle the heating issues. You’ll want to make sure your heating system is in great working condition and that the thermostat is set to a comfortable temperature when potential buyers come to view the home.

  2. Show diverse photos. Show off your home in all different conditions online. Someone may come visit your home in the winter but they’ll want to know what it looks like during a sunny, summer afternoon as well.

  3. Make your home seem easy to live in. Winter hardships like shoveling snow, clearing roofs, cleaning furnaces or pellet stoves, or removing salt marks and melted ice from your floors all can make a home seem less desirable to potential buyers. To avoid making a bad impression, take care of all of these problems beforehand.

Tags: Real Estate   home   house   winter   january   sell   december   february   benefits  
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Posted by Trisha Bowen on 12/12/2016

That time is upon us once again. The sun sets early, the trees are bare, and you’ve packed away your summer clothes for the season. When the cold months arrive, there are many joys to be had. Holidays spent with family and friends, seasonal music and decorating, and the unmatched coziness of sitting inside with a hot cup of tea. As the winter months wear on, though, the coziness is replaced with feeling a little stir crazy.

Once cabin fever sets in, we can easily find ourselves dreaming of the warm weather again. Finding ways to pass the time that don’t involve spending a lot of money or binge watching shows on Netflix can be difficult. That’s why we’ve put together this list of inexpensive indoor hobbies for the winter time to help keep you active and productive in your free time this season.


One of the first things people sacrifice in the winter time is fitness. As we all know, when our bodies are feeling healthy our minds follow suit. Yoga is a great way to take care of them both. As long as you have an internet connection and a smartphone or computer you can do it for free.

YouTube offers numerous excellent yoga videos for beginners. One of our personal favorites is Yoga with Adriene. She offers new videos for free on a weekly or monthly basis so you’ll never run out of good routines.


Not only is this one inexpensive, but it can even save you money each week if you’re the type of person who eats out for breakfast, lunch, or dinner throughout the week.

Cooking is always a useful skill to have, and depending on your taste you can become adept at any number of cooking styles just by following recipe guides and cooking blogs online.

Like anything else, start off simple; cook large stir frys to make bulk lunches for your work week. Or try some recipes from Minimalist Baker who provides delicious meals that use simple, easy to find ingredients.

Start a book or movie club

If you always find yourself wishing you read more, maybe all you need is a bit of motivation. Starting a book club with some friends could be just the push you need to get started.

If reading puts you to sleep, you could start a movie club with people who have similar tastes as you on Facebook. Host viewings at your home where you can get all the latest releases for a few dollars on iTunes or at Redbox.

Indoor gardening

It can be pretty depressing to watch the flowers die and greenery disappear each autumn. To keep nature alive in your life throughout the winter, why not get some different types of houseplants. Depending on your interests, you can grow anything from cacti, to useful herbs right on your windowsills.

If you’re feeling really ambitious, you could take on the task of learning about the art of bonsai, the ancient Chinese horticulture practice of growing trees in small pots. It may seem straightforward, but as bonsai practitioners will tell you there’s a lot to it. A good starting place is Bonsai Empire and if you have questions you can reach out to the helpful Bonsai community on Reddit.

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