Jill Finkelstein - Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Town and Country Real Estate



Posted by Jill Finkelstein on 8/13/2017

There are many benefits to living in a simple and minimal environment. Lack of clutter helps us focus and boosts our mood. Have you ever sat down at your desk at work or in your home office and felt like you just couldn't get any work done and started tidying up instead? It might be a good idea to listen to that impulse and make your work environment a more productive place. In this article we're going to give you some tips for making your home office a distraction-free, minimal sanctuary. At the same time, these tips will be low cost--minimalism and frugality go hand in hand after all.

Why minimalism?

If you're the type of person who lives in a "well-organized mess" and is able to function highly in this environment, maybe you don't need to strip things down. Or, if you feel the most comfortable in a busy room and are able to get more work done this way, maybe the busy and cozy office environment works for you. However, the majority of people don't fit that description. We tend to do our best work when we have only the necessities at had. Having a minimal home office has numerous benefits. Aside from helping you focus and adding a spacious, pleasant atmosphere to the room, minimalism can help your room look more updated and modern (increasing the value of your home), and can help you save money once you start making only the most useful purchases for your home office.

Your office as a workshop

If you work on cars in your garage and nothing else, you'll probably only want to fill your garage with the right tools for the job. This is also true for your home office. We have a tendency of putting old and extra furniture and decorations from our house into the less frequented rooms, like a home office. Look around your office. Has it become a storage room for old pillows, lamps, or furniture? If so, this is your chance to get rid of some items to clear up the room. Unlike your garage, the tools for the job needed in your home office have been extremely cut down thanks to technology. Among the items that laptops and smartphones have made obsolete:
  • filing cabinets--Google Drive and Dropbox can securely store all your documents
  • calculators--your phone and laptop have these
  • staplers
  • hole punches
  • landline telephones
  • bulletin boards
  • desktop calendars and planners
This list goes on and on. If you have the equivalent or a replacement on your laptop, there's no need to clutter your room with it.

Minimal decorating

Since simple living and minimalism are current trends there are a range of resources available to you when looking to revamp your home office. Some decorating tips to help you along the way:
  • Shop modular. Modular furniture from stores like IKEA and VITSOE are great space savers.
  • Keep your surfaces clear. Avoid the urge to cover your desk with items. That goes for tables, floors, walls, and ceilings as well.
  • Think about color. Using bright colors for your walls and ceiling will make your room feel more spacious and minimal.
  • Nature is your friend. Natural light and one or two plants will compliment any minimal space.





Posted by Jill Finkelstein on 8/6/2017

Children. You love them with all your being. But the mess they can make of the house? Not so much. Keep reading for four tips on how to keep your home clean despite your children’s best efforts. You might even be able to get them to join in on the fun! 

1. Cleanup after playtime. Build the habit of cleaning up one set of toys before moving on to the next, this not only keeps the floor from becoming littered in toys but also makes cleaning up more manageable for little ones. A large mess can easily overwhelm small children and by cleaning up along the way you make the task easier for them to participate in.

2. Have an organizational system for corralling toys that works for you and more importantly your children. Make cleanup easy by storing toys in bins and baskets that toys can easily be tossed into. Cleanup is made even easier when you give everything a designated place so there isn’t a chance for toys to end up in organizational limbo. Do a walk through of the house sweep once little ones are in bed to ensure everything has been put in its place.

3. The easiest way to keep things clean is to minimize the amount of stuff you and your children own. Of course, this is harder to implement with little ones but regular clean outs of toys helps to balance the influx of toys that come during holidays and birthdays. Include kiddos in on the process to pick out their favorites and get them excited to donate toys to other children. You can put some toys in storage and swap them out regularly throughout the year to minimize the amount kept in the home and reignite your child’s interest in them as well.

4. Create regular routines around the house to instill clean up habits in your child early on. Create designated areas around the house for play time, quiet time or even homework. This helps children adjust to focus on the task at hand as well as prevent toys from ending up all over the house. By keeping a routine time of day to do a  household chore you’ll also teach little ones the importance of having work ethic around the home. You can even involve curious kiddos in the chore by buying them a child-sized broom or vacuum to “help”. 

Keeping a tidy home with little ones in the house isn’t the easiest of tasks. But by minimizing the amount of stuff you own and instilling a regular clean up habits you can keep on top of messes. You can even create some fond memories and bonding time with your child by including them in on the fun. Happy cleaning!  




Tags: cleaning tips   how to   children  
Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Jill Finkelstein on 7/30/2017

When you want to give the outside of your home a serious makeover, you might be looking to change up the color combination of the property. There’s many different color combinations that can make your home look great. Whether your home has siding, brick, or stone, there’s a color combination for you. Below, you’ll find some color combinations that you can consider for your home. 


Gray, Blue, And White


Whether your home has a stone exterior or is just plain white, you can use these three colors in a great combination to accent the home. White brings about brightness while the darker tones of blue and gray bring out your front door and window trim, creating a silhouette of sorts.


Brown Green And White


If you’re looking for earth tones, this is a great color combination for you. These nature inspired shades can create a beautiful oasis on the outside of your home. You can choose light and dark shades that complement one another in order to bring a dramatic affect to your home.


Peach White And Gray


This color combo can add a stimulating visual effect to the front of your home. The white can be used to highlight your home’s accents, while the darker grays can add some depth the color scheme overall. 


Other combos to consider:


  • Gray, red, and white
  • Brown, red, and green
  • White, black, and gray
  • Cream, yellow, and black
  • Red, brown, and orange
  • Greens, browns, and creams
  • brown, tan, and blue
  • Blue, white, and black

Remember that very color palette needs a foundation. The establishing color is the one that will overtake the majority of the outside of your home. Remember that you need to consider all of the accents of your home including the door, window trims, and shutters. Even if you don’t want to take the dive and change the entire color of your home, you can consider changing just the accents of your home. Sometimes even just adding a coat of paint to the front door can really spice up the outside of your home.


When All Else Fails, Stick With The Classics


While pops of color can always look wonderful in a color scheme on your home, if you’re afraid to think outside the box, you might want to just stick to the classics. You can never go wrong with neutral colors, especially when you use them together. Try different color combos at the local hardware store, or even try a few paint samples before you make a firm decision on your home’s makeover.




Tags: paint   color  
Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Jill Finkelstein on 7/23/2017

American workers commute about 50 minutes a day to and from work. Millions of Americans are on the road more than an hour a day just to travel from home to work. That’s two hours round trip each workday. This amount of time spent on the road makes it easy to understand why anyone would focus their home buying choice on how close a new house is to their job.

Short commutes may not get you all the savings you want

But, making the distance between your home and job the primary factor that will determine where you live may end up costing you more than you think. Buy a house in a major city like Philadelphia, New York or Chicago and you’re going to pay city income tax. Property taxes in these areas may also be higher than what you’d pay if you move further away from the heart of the city. Other costs that you might face include:

Move to a major metropolis and you’ll see lots of power lines. The good thing is that you’ll have lots of juice. The downside is that power could go out frequently because those power lines are feeding energy into lots of houses. If this happens, power outages could force you to buy a backup generator.

Construction could become an issue if you buy a house that’s in a developing area. The fact that a lot of large companies are located near busy hubs could increase your chances of having to deal with construction. Although construction may not lengthen your commute distance, it will likely extend your commute time.

Other costs that you may incur

You’re not the only one who would love to live and spend time close to major business hubs. People who choose to steal also frequent these areas. This single factor alone could cause you to need a home security system, and not just any home security system. You may have to pay for a security system that lets you view your house while you’re away. The type of home security system that’s sold at housewares stores may not deliver all the security services that you need.

Home owner’s insurance fees might be higher, again depending on where your new house is located. Shop around and compare homeowner’s insurance prices before you buy a new house.

Houses in new developments may come with homeowner’s association fees. These fees range from $100 to several hundred dollars a month. Although you’ll have some services like landscaping and community recreation included in your homeowner’s association fees, you’ll be responsible for repairs that are made to your actual house.

Concerning,repairs, if your new house that’s closer to your job site is on a busy street,you could pay for sidewalk, driveway and mailbox repairs. The mailbox repairs could come if drivers bang into your mailbox while they speed down the street.People also might back in and out of your driveway if they take a wrong turn or get lost.

A house that’s 10 or fewer miles from your job saves you gas money. That’s for sure.But, depending on the residential areas that surround your workplace, buying a house close to your job could end up devouring those fuel savings. If the residential area is declining, you could end up owning a house that cost more than it’s worth. You could also be forced to take on other costs that you hadn’t previously thought about or budgeted for.





Posted by Jill Finkelstein on 7/16/2017

If you live in what's considered a "safe neighborhood", it's all too easy to be lulled into a false sense of complacency. Although the crime rate in your part of town may be low, the chances of living in an area that's totally crime free are very small.

Burglars and other would-be criminals are often opportunistic, so it pays to take precautions and avoid being an "easy target." Here are a few home security tips that can help protect your property, your family, and your valuables.

  • Make it a habit to lock your doors at night and every time you leave the house for even a short period of time. If you're behind schedule and in a rush, stop and take one more minute to do a quick security check and -- while you're at it -- make sure hot appliances, such as stoves, ovens, and irons, are turned off.
  • Even in the best of neighborhoods, bicycles that are left out in your driveway or front yard can and often do get stolen in seconds. When a bicycle gets stolen from your property, it can be a painful and expensive lesson. Fortunately, those types of losses can be avoided by having your family get in the habit of concealing bicycles in secure locations (like a garage or shed) or padlocking them to a stationary object, such as a tree or well-anchored fence post.
  • Leaving a house key in your mailbox, under a welcome mat, or in a flower pot may seem like a good idea at the time, but those hiding places can easily be discovered by the wrong people.
  • Allowing mail or newspapers to pile up while you're away for the weekend or on vacation is a tip-off to burglars that no one is home. Having a checklist that reminds you to suspend mail and newspaper delivery while you're away can help you avoid that risk. If you plan on being gone for the weekend, a trusted neighbor or friend can often be depended on to gather deliveries that might otherwise advertise your absence.
  • Teaching your kids home safety and security measures at an early age is another vital component of crime prevention. They should be taught and reminded what to say and do if a stranger either asks for personal information over the phone or asks if they can come into the house. It's important for kids to know that they can and should be assertive with adults when protecting themselves and their home.
When it comes to home security, your four most important strategies are awareness, taking preventative measures, educating yourself and your family, and being consistent. Sometimes the best approach to keep in mind and tell your children is to follow the anti-drug advice of former First Lady Nancy Reagan: "Just say no!" There are plenty of instances when no further explanation is required.