12 Arrowwood Court South Portland Maine

12 Arrowwood Court South Portland Maine
Under Contract!!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

101 Things I Love about Portland Maine

113.  The Grill Room on upper Exchange.  I had one of my favorite meals ever in Portland tonight at this restaurant.  The staff person was delightful, the pacing of the meal was right, the appetizer of warm olives and the bread with olive oil were delicious and the meals were superb!!  My husband had the salmon special with risotto and I had the hanger steak with cheddar and andouille sausage grits.  They topped my meal with yummy onion rings!  ***** stars for this one!

101 Things I Love about Portland Maine

112. Linda Bean's Lobster Roll on Exchange Street.  I don't like lobster but the wait staff here are very nice and there is a special Happy Hour price on draft Shipyard beers so two pints of Summer Ale were only $3.  They also have bite size whoopie pies in a variety of flavors incuding pumpkin which make a great snack!

Closing today!!

Congratulations, New Homeowners,
Jacob and Angelina!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Tips from Emily

Tip for yard sales:
If you don't want to sell it,
don't put it out for the sale!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

In Loving Memory of Bob the Cat

To all the cat lovers of the world, enjoy your dear friends!
Our whole family misses Bob.

Scenes from Maine Animal Park Gray ME

So many native animals to see here:3-legged Bobcat,  Albino Raccoon, Groundhog, Red Fox, Fisher, Brown and Black Bears and many more!  Then on to the snack bar....


Saturday, August 28, 2010

101 Things I Love About Portland Maine

111. Old Orchard Beach Original Pier Fries: I have been enjoying these deep-fried, golden brown, crunchy treats for years.  Thank goodness some things never change (although I hope the deep fat has occasionally!)
Douse them liberally with salt and vinegar.  Enjoy!

101 Things I Love About Portland Maine

110. Short trip from Portland to Kennebunk: Kennebunk Inn.
My husband and I were looking for a pleasant spot for a little snack and drinks before a play in Arundel and we decided to try this inn at 45 Main Street.  We found a nice corner table in the bar and were greeted by friendly barstaff.  Our drinks were good and we shared a delicious grilled cheese sandwich and fabulous onion rings.  Perfect pre-theater treat!  http://www.thekennebunkinn.com/

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Green Kitchen Remodeling

By: John Riha
Published: September 25, 2009
If you’re ready to remodel your kitchen and want to go green, here’s how to create the healthy, energy-efficient, eco-friendly kitchen of your dreams.

Value Added High $16,100 - $43,000

Effort High 6-12 mos (including planning)

Investment High $21,400 - $57,200

Going green with your kitchen remodeling project means making choices based on your lifestyle and your budget. The decisions aren’t always simple. For example, a certain green product may outlast and use less energy but cost more than a similar product that performs equally well. Fortunately, an expanding marketplace for smart, stylish green products is helping to lower costs—making it easier to have a green kitchen and love it, too.

If products you’d like to add to your project aren’t readily available, schedule visits to showrooms or green home improvement expos to examine materials first-hand before making decisions. To help you plan, here are key products, ideas, and tips to put the green in your kitchen.

Major components

• Sustainable kitchen cabinets are made from wood and wood products certified by the Forest Stewardship Council to be produced using sustainable forest management practices. They feature formaldehyde-free glues and finishes with low volatile organic compounds that give off little or no toxic fumes. Check product literature closely to ensure the cabinets you choose meet these criteria.

When shopping for cabinets, ask if the cabinet boxes are built with wheat board or straw board. These products are made from agricultural waste, such as the chaff left over from farmers’ wheat crops. As a rule, they feature formaldehyde-free binders. They’re strong and rated to exceed the standards set by the American National Standards Institute for medium density particleboard—the material commonly used to make cabinet boxes.

• Green countertops offer variety but all share similar characteristics: recycled or sustainable content, low-toxicity binders, and eco-friendly manufacturing processes. In addition, they’re highly durable. Examples: Squak Mountain Stone is made from recycled paper, recycled glass, reclaimed fly ash, and cement. The finished countertop slabs resemble limestone and soapstone. Eco-top counters consist of renewable bamboo fiber, post-consumer recycled paper, and water-based resin glue. Vetrazzo makes countertops that are 85% recycled glass—almost all the glass comes from curbside recycling programs. Craft-Art includes a line of wood countertops made of reclaimed wood from older barns, warehouses, and commercial buildings.

• Eco-friendly flooring includes linoleum and cork. Both are made with renewable resources that make them sustainable choices. They’re good-looking and durable, but require periodic maintenance.

Linoleum is made from renewable, biodegradable materials including linseed oil and cork. It produces no harmful vapors and comes in many patterns and colors. Linoleum stands up well to traffic and offers some cushioning underfoot. It’s resistant to moisture but susceptible to staining, so some manufacturers add a coating to protect against spills and scratches. Without this protection, linoleum must be cleaned and polished every two years. Cost: $2 to $4 per sq.ft.; installation adds $5 to $7 per sq.ft.

Cork is a sustainable flooring product made from tree bark; the bark grows back and can be harvested repeatedly. Harvesting practices are carefully regulated to ensure future supplies, reducing environmental impact. Cork is waterproof and slightly soft underfoot, which makes it both moisture-resistant and comfortable. It’s made in 12x12-inch tiles and 1x3-foot planks, each with a distinctive grain pattern. The surface is slightly textured and slip-resistant.

Treat cork flooring with a sealant every 3 to 4 years to prevent scratches and stop moisture from penetrating seams between tiles. Natural wax and water-based polyurethane work well. Cost: $2-$6 per sq.ft.; installation, $5-$10 per sq.ft.


• Choosing Energy Star products reduces energy consumption and saves utility costs. Energy Star appliances are tested and rated to be the most energy-efficient models in any product category. In addition, some states and regional utility companies offer rebates for buying Energy Star appliances.

• Dishwashers go green when they feature an energy-saving or quick-wash cycle. These cycles operate for shorter periods of time, saving water and energy. Also, look for dishwashers that include an air-dry option, which dries dishes with circulation fans rather than energy-draining heating elements. Or, simply open up the dishwasher door when the wash cycle is complete and let dishes air dry.

Energy Star models are 25% more energy efficient than the federal standards for energy consumption. If you replace your pre-1994 dishwasher with an Energy Star model, you’ll save as much as $40 a year on energy costs.

• Buy a new refrigerator and you’ll save on energy costs. That’s because manufacturers are constantly improving technology and insulating techniques. In fact, today’s new models are 75% more energy efficient than those manufactured just 20 years ago, saving about $100 per year on energy costs. An Energy Star-rated model will save an additional $20-$30 per year.

Choose models featuring the freezer on top and use 10% to 25% less energy than a same-sized model with a side-by-side configuration.

Green essentials

• An under-the-counter water purifier cleans water of contaminants before it reaches the kitchen tap; it has about 10 times the filtering capacity of a faucet-mounted purifier. A model with a top-quality activated carbon filter will remove heavy metals, bacteria, and pesticides. In addition, it removes odors and bad tastes. Expect to pay $150-$200 for an activated charcoal purifier with a replaceable cartridge.

• Energy-efficient lighting includes fluorescent and compact fluorescent lamps that use 50% to 90% less energy than comparable incandescent lamps. In fact, according to EnergyStar.gov, a single compact fluorescent bulb will save $30-$40 during its expected lifespan of 10,000 hours over conventional incandescent bulbs of similar luminosity. However, consider the correct quality of light, such as an efficient halogen and LED lighting sources, for task areas.

• Being an active recycler is one way to ensure your kitchen is green. Most cabinet manufacturers offer options for lower cabinets that include pull-out recycling bins that keep contents organized and out of sight. In some instances, these bins are designed to be positioned conveniently beneath holes in countertops so that you can sweep food scraps into them. You can also retrofit existing cabinets with recycling bins—rotating lazy Susan-type recycling centers feature multiple bins and are designed to fit in lower corner cabinets.

John Riha has written six books on home improvement and hundreds of articles on home-related topics. He’s been a residential builder, the editorial director of the Black & Decker Home Improvement Library, and the executive editor of Better Homes and Gardens magazine. His standard 1968 suburban house has been an ongoing source of maintenance experience.

Read more:  http://www.houselogic.com/

Mortgage Interest Rates Explained

Monday, August 23, 2010

New England Is the Best! Scenes from Maine and New Hampshire

Here are some views of Maine farm life, summer at Shawnee peak Ski area, and North Conway NH area. 

Friday, August 20, 2010

Relocation Timeline

About one month away from your move, you'll want a detailed checklist to make sure nothing is forgotten.
Four weeks to go:
Call moving companies for a free estimate. Cost will vary depending on distance, weight and optional services.
Look through your house to determine items to be discarded or donated to charity. Have a garage sale!
Inform schools of transfer. Make arrangements for enrollment/registration in new schools if necessary.
Most homeowner's policies do not provide adequate coverage for moving. Check with your agent and consider purchasing additional coverage from a moving company.
Begin collecting boxes with covers if you plan to pack your belongings. You can purchase packing materials through moving companies or contact local grocery stores for extra boxes. Be sure to stock up on packing tape!
Begin consuming perishable and frozen food items to minimize waste.

Three weeks to go:
Begin packing!
Notify the post office of your new address and send change of address cards to friends, family, subscriptions and any billing companies.
Make necessary travel arrangements including interim housing and car rental. Be sure to record confirmation numbers.
Collect medical records and prescriptions from physicians. Ask for recommendations for doctors in your new area.
Place legal, medical and insurance records in a safe and accessible place.

Two weeks to go:
Arrange to disconnect utilities/services in your current residence and coordinate installation of utilities/services in your new home.
Close/transfer bank accounts and open accounts in your new city.
Take pets to the vet for immunizations. Ask for advice on moving animals.
Draw a map of your new home and where the furniture will be arranged.
Return library books and any borrowed items.
Be sure to cancel newspaper subscriptions and/or any special services you have (i.e., landscaping/lawn service, snow plow, etc.).

One week to go:
Prepare car for the trip. Check the oil, tires, brakes, etc.
Drain water from hoses.
Drain gasoline and oil from any lawn or power equipment.
Remember to pick up items sent to the cleaners or for repairs.

Days before:
Defrost and clean out refrigerator
Pack your luggage and separate any items you will need in the first days in your new home (i.e., a current telephone directory - you may need to refer to it for calls to residents or businesses in your former hometown). Label these boxes "Load Last."
Reconfirm travel arrangements.
Reserve ample parking space for the movers and provide clear paths inside the house.

The Big Day!
Be on hand to answer any questions.
Go over your inventory with the driver.
Be sure to point out all FRAGILE items to the movers.
Check, double check and triple check to see if anything is left behind!
Do not leave the house until the movers are gone.

A Few More Moving Thoughts:
Moving your computer - Make copies of all your files and software. If possible, pack your computer, monitor, and printer in their original boxes. If not, ask a moving company for boxes made especially for computers.
Packing supplies - have 1.5" packing tape, thick markers, packing pellets, scissors, labels, tissue paper, newspaper and blankets on hand.

Inventory - Review inventory list.
Pack photographs between sheets and blankets in boxes for added protection.
At your destination consider hooking up the TV and VCR to occupy children until the truck is unloaded.

Enjoy your new home!

Portland Maine in the News

New York Times article: http://travel.nytimes.com/2010/08/22/travel/22hours.html

Thursday, August 19, 2010

101 Things I Love About Portland Maine

109. Tonight my husband and I tried a new restaurant just for drinks and a look at the menu.  Salt Exchange on Commercial St has the glamour of a larger city and the menu with small plate offerings looks good.  We had specialty drinks of the house which were both fruity and refreshing.  http://www.thesaltexchange.net/

Monday, August 16, 2010

101 Things I Love about Portland Maine

108. Local Sprouts Restaurant on Congress Street--a funky spot serving creative local organic food.  Our group tried the baked fish, fish tacos and grilled cheese with tomatoes.  Desserts; blueberry pie with whole wheat crust and raspberry swirl cheesecake.  Yum!  Everything was fresh and delicious.  http://www.localsproutscooperative.com/

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

101 Things I Love About Portland Maine

107. JulChris Cookies located  in South Portland on Cottage Street---These cookies are huge and delicious.  The owner and baker works in the shop and doles out hearty samples of the different varieties.  I tried a piece of her fudgy brownies that melted in my mouth and a hunk of chocolate chip/oatmeal that had a moist chewy center.  She also makes favorites like Snickerdoodles and oatmeal raisin cookies plus several concoctions of her own.
I plan to go back until I have tried them all. 

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Conduct Your Own Energy Audit

By: Jane Hodges
Published: August 28, 2009

A do-it-yourself energy audit can teach you how to be more energy efficient and make you a more-educated consumer should you decide to hire an expert.

Save Money High $110-$660/yr

Effort Low 2-4 hrs

Investment Low Up to $150 (tools)

Some DIY audits require you play home inspector, climbing into attics and crawlspaces on fact-finding missions.

Self-starters don’t necessarily need a pro to assess their home’s energy deficiencies. With a little elbow grease and one of several free do-it-yourself guides to home energy auditing, you can get a good sense of where your home is leaking hot and cool air, and how your choice of appliances and your energy use contributes to energy loss.

What you’ll save on fixes

By following up on problems, you can lower energy bills by 5% to 30% annually, according to the U.S. Department of Energy’s office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. With annual energy bills averaging $2,200, according to Energy Star, investing in fixes or energy-efficient replacement products could save you up to $660 within a year.

And self-audits can cost virtually nothing if you already own a flashlight, ladder, measuring stick, candles, eye protection, work clothes, dust mask, and a screwdriver—or roughly $150 if you’re starting from scratch. As for time commitment, expect to spend two to four hours to investigate home systems, refer to utility bills, and conduct research about local norms for products, such as insulation, say experts.

Types of DIY audits

Since there are a variety of ways to conduct a do-it-yourself audit, you’ll need to know your tolerance for the tasks involved.

Some require you play home inspector, climbing into attics and crawlspaces on fact-finding missions and delving into unfinished portions of your home to look at duct work. Questionnaire-based audits rely the assumption that you can answer such questions as how many gallons of water your toilet tank holds to the R-value (thickness) of insulation in your home.

If you don’t have time to familiarize yourself with your home’s systems or confidence about diagnosing problems, are disabled, are squeamish on ladders and in crawlspaces, or are already planning to invest in a major remodel, you may benefit from hiring a pro.

Even homeowners who complete a self-audit often hire a professional to double-check their diagnoses. A self-audit may reveal drafts but not their exact source, such as ducts or insulation, for instance. Because the costs to address a draft can range from minor to major, investing in a paid audit may be justifiable.

What should you check?

All the home systems and appliances that contribute to energy costs. Here’s the breakdown of a typical home’s energy usage that Energy Star references:

Heating (29%)

Cooling (17%)

Water heating (14%)

Appliances (13%)

Lighting (12%)

Computers and electronics (4%)

Other (11%)

Self-audits hone in on details pros may not

While the pros use special equipment to focus on hard-to-research aspects of a home’s building envelope and indoor air circulation, DIY audits can teach you—based on the questions they ask—to identify and address the numerous small ways in which your home wastes energy.

Since lighting, electronics, and appliances collectively account for nearly 30% of the average home’s energy costs, you can make an impact on your bills by replacing old appliances with energy-efficient replacements and simple fixes—plugging appliances into power strips versus wall outlets, making sure refrigerator doors are properly sealed and don’t leak air, and opting for a programmable thermostat.

How to spot common energy leaks

1. Check your home’s exterior envelope—the windows, doors, walls, and roof exposed to outdoor air. Hold a candle or stick of incense near windows, doors, electrical outlets, range hoods, plumbing and ceiling fixtures, attic hatches, and ceiling fans in bathrooms. When smoke blows, you’ve got a draft from a source that may need caulking, sealant, weather stripping, or insulation.

2. Check insulation R-value or thickness. Where insulation is exposed (in an attic, unfinished basement, or around ducts, water heaters, and appliances), use a ruler to measure, recommends the DOE. Compare your results against those suggested for your region via an insulation calculator.

Although examining in-wall insulation is difficult, you can remove electrical outlet covers, turn off electricity, and probe inside the wall, the DOE notes in its DIY audit guide. However, only a professional’s thermographic scan can reveal if insulation coverage is consistent within a wall. Insulation can settle or may not be uniformly installed.

3. Look for stains on insulation. These often indicate air leaks from a hole behind the insulation, such as a duct hole or crack in an exterior wall.

4. Inspect exposed ducts. They may not work efficiently if they’re dirty, have small holes, or if they pass through unfinished portions of the home and aren’t insulated. Look for obvious holes and whether intersections of duct pipe are joined correctly. Since ducts are typically made out of thin metal that easily conducts heat, uninsulated or poorly insulated ducts in unconditioned spaces can lose 10% to 30% of the energy used to heat and cool your home, says DOE.

When should a professional make repairs?

The DOE recommends calling a contractor before insulating ducts in basements or crawlspaces, as doing so will make these spaces cooler and could impact other home systems, such as water pipes. Plus, these ducts might release noxious air. DOE also recommends you hire professionals to clean ducts periodically. If you’ve noticed that some rooms get disproportionately hot or cold, bring that to a pro’s attention. It could be duct related.

In addition, some DIY audits—like the City of Seattle’s free online audit guide, suggest hiring a pro if you suspect asbestos materials have been used in insulation or around pipes, ducts, or heating equipment. Airborne or crumbling asbestos particles are a health hazard. And a pro might be the right choice when dealing with insulation around or near electrical or examining electrical systems with bare wires.

A self-audit, like a paid audit, serves as a jumping-off point to help you set priorities for making your home more efficient. Whether or not you choose to make repairs yourself, one thing’s for sure: You’ll come away knowing more about your home’s strengths and weaknesses than you did before.

Jane Hodges has written about real estate for more than half of her 16-year journalism career, for publications including MSNBC.com, Seattle Magazine, The Seattle Times, and The Wall Street Journal. In 2007 she won a Bivins Fellowship from the National Association of Real Estate Editors to pursue a book on women and real estate. Her work has also appeared in The New York Times, CBS’s BNET, and Fortune. She lives in Seattle in a 1966 raised rancher with an excellent retro granite fireplace. Latest home project: remodeling a basement bathroom.

Read more: http://www.houselogic.com/articles/conduct-your-own-energy-audit/#ixzz0w3pBGHPr

Friday, August 6, 2010

101 Things I Love about Portland Maine

106. Restaurants --Shay's on Congress at Monument Square is a small but friendly spot to eat.  This grill pub offers great burgers and salads.  You can sit outside and watch the local action in the Square and look across to the new facade of the Portland Public Library.  I had a fresh delicious chicken salad with walnuts, blue cheese, and cranberries.  They have good $5 drinks and nightly specials.   

101 Things I Love about Portland Maine

105. Material Objects --Looking for a stylish new outfit and a little short of funds?  How about a great retro look in vintage?
Try this funky resale shop which also has new items and jewelry and socks or tights. Lots of designer brands if you take time to look.  Right on Congress Street.

Sights from Portland Friday Night Artwalk

Words of Wisdom from Emmy

Welcome to our new column with words of advice from Emmy:
Today's Tip:
Want to avoid blisters on your feet?  Wear socks with your shoes!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Home's Market Value

In the real world, very few individuals order appraisal reports to establish an offering price or to substantiate a purchase price. At the point that an offer to purchase (in a typical residential transaction) is made, the price has been set by other parties, not the purchaser. The price has been determined by the seller, who wishes to obtain the highest price possible, or the agent, who receives a percentage of the price as compensation and often represents the seller in the transaction.

The real estate agent will typically perform a comparative market analysis (CMA). The appraisal laws in most states allow real estate agents to perform CMAs without an appraiser's license or certification. A CMA is a necessary part of the agent's preparation for a listing and consists of examining sales of properties in the area to arrive at a listing price. The reliability of the CMA depends upon the agent's experience and the characteristics of the property. The agent will suggest a selling price to the seller based upon the analysis. However, neither the seller nor the agent are bound by the results of the analysis, and the agent is not required to follow any formal procedure in completing the CMA. If a seller wishes to list the property at a price higher than the price suggested by the agent, then the agent may be forced to accept the listing at that price or risk losing a commission.

Purchasers believe that they are getting a good deal if they make an offer lower than the listed price. But how far above the market value was the property listed? 10%, 15%, maybe even 20% above the fair market value? A negotiated price of 10% less than the listed price on a property that was listed at 20% above its value is not a bargain. The agent cannot tell the purchaser that the offered price is higher than the value, or even higher than their own CMA. In most states, they must submit the offer to the seller.

The seller of a property may want to order an appraisal before listing the property. Of course, the cost of the appraisal is always a deterrent, especially if the seller knows that a buyer will pay for it when applying for a loan. But the appraisal is often justified. The seller could lose a sale if the property appraised for less than the sale price when appraised by the appraiser.