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Home Inspections in Oakland County MI & Surrounding areas

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July 2017

July Newsletter

Hazy lazy days of summer. Here is your July issue of Sterling Home Services’ monthly newsletter. This month we cover some new interesting topics - getting started with Feng Shui and some pointers for managing a house cleaning service if you have one or are considering adding one. Plus for those thinking of moving soon some tips for selling your home in the summertime! We hope you find some interesting information in this month’s issue! Be safe and enjoy your summer.

5 Tips for selling your home in the summer.

Believe it or not, selling your home in the summer is not the ideal time. For many of us our homes look best in summer, so this is kind of a bummer. To be competitive and capture the attention of summer home buyers it just takes a little extra effort. Here are some tips to help your house stand out, in a good way.
1.  Curb appeal.
Some buyers won't even go into a house if it looks sad and frumpy from the outside. Keep the yard picked up, don't leave toys or tools out. Cut the grass twice a week. Keep bushes neatly trimmed. Plant extra flowers and display planters with flowers and plants. Keep the front door and entryway swept, clean and inviting.
2. Let the sun shine.
If you have lots of heavy draperies and shades either remove them or keep them pulled open. Dark rooms always appear smaller, and light gives the impression of space and cleanliness.
3. Be prepared and agreeable to showings later in the day.
Because the days are longer in summer many buyers will want to tour your home later at 7 or 8 pm.
4. Fresh air.
Keep the air clean and fresh in your home. Don't try to use a lot of air fresheners and candles in the summer. Allowing fresh, clean air from outside to keep the house smelling nice is a better idea for summer. For a nice accent use fresh cut flowers in vases. It will add a lovely fragrance as well as some summery decor.
5. Not too warm or too cool.
A good rule of thumb is between 72-75 degrees. When a room is hot and stuffy you just want to get out. You don't want the buyers to get out, you want them to stay! Keep the temperature comfortable but not so cold they're wishing they had a sweater.
In general do what you can to make your house light, inviting and comfortable. These simple tips can put your house at the top of any buyer's list.

Feng Shui - 7 steps to get started

Feng Shui (pronounced fung-shway) is an ancient study and “art” of the placement of stuff in your environment and the relationship between environment and human life. The three basic criteria of feng shui can be traced back to Neanderthal cavemen 28,000 who chose caves that were 1) located on high ground 2) provided an excellent view of the surrounding area from the entrance and 3) in close proximity to a water source.  The two Chinese words Feng: wind and Shui: water are the two natural elements on Earth that flow, move, and circulate everywhere, all the time. And the domestic art of feng shui is about arranging your environment to be in tune with this flow.

The goal of feng shui is not to cast voodoo spells on your living room so you become a millionaire overnight. And feng shui is not something that can be done in one afternoon by simply moving a mirror and placing a bowl of water on your dresser. It’s more about achieving harmony and improving your energy and life experience by arranging your environment in a way that is in harmony with the principals of natural energy flow.

There are many books and online resources for creating good feng shui in your home. We checked TheSpruce.com and found these “7 Steps to a Harmonious Home”

1. Clear the Clutter - In Feng Shui clearing clutter doesn’t mean putting it away. It means getting rid of everything you do not love, in your house. This takes time and effort but is a must for harmony in your home and your life.

2. Have good air quality and good light in your home. Open the windows as often as you can, open the drapes and blinds to allow sunlight in, use an air purifier, consider full-spectrum lights. Light and air are essential chi (which is fengshui energy) elements.
3. Learn the energy map of your home. Here’s where you learn something new! The feng shui energy map is called the Bagua and it will help you understand how areas of your home are connected to your life. To define your home’s Bagua read this “Feng Shui Bagua Made Simply” from TheSpruce.com.
4. Bring in the 5 Feng Shui Elements. To encourage the flow of energy in the right direction and bring balance to areas of your life you will introduce the right elements to specific areas of your home. Wood for growth and health, fire for high energy/passion/creativitiy, earth for nourishment/knowledge/stability, metal for strength/focus/independence, and water for wealth/abundance/fluidity. Combining the Bagua with the elements helps bring the right energy to specific areas of our lives. For example if you’re feeling troubled by your career bring elements of fire and water to the northern quadrant of your home for more passion, creativity, and wealth flow. An interesting trait of bringing in the elements is that it isn’t necessarily literal. Bringing fire in as a decorative element could mean candles or where you place your fireplace but it can also mean shapes like triangles (the shape of flame) or colors like red, orange, and yellow. More about feng shui elements here >>
5. Identify your feng shui birth element and honor it. Your birth element is based on your birth year in the Chinese calendar. Here is a good chart and article to help you determine your personal feng shui birth elements. Use characteristics of your birth element in your home to nourish and wake up your energy.
6. Learn your “Lucky Directions” - Your lucky direction is again based on your birth year and gender and it can help you determine which direction to face when working, sitting, sleeping, etc. Your lucky direction can help you further refine and encourage positive energy flow but it isn’t necessary to put too much emphasis on this level when decorating or designing your home. Every person in your home may have a different lucky direction which they can use to decide where to sit or how to decorate their personal space. It’s important to understand that nothing bad will happen if you face an “unlucky” direction! Feng shui is about encouraging balance and positive energy flow, not avoiding disasters!
7. Tune in to the energy around you. Maybe you always feel uncomfortable in a certain chair, maybe you feel more clear headed sitting at the kitchen table. Practice mindfulness in your own home in regards to the energy flow and you will know what areas need attention.
Don’t be overwhelmed by the guidelines for good feng shui. It’s not going to hurt you if you don’t know which area of your home needs a wooden picture frame. If you practice just numbers 1, 4, and 7 (that is: clear the clutter, bring some of the 5 feng shui elements in to your decor, and practice mindfulness at home) you’ll start improving the energy at home and creating a space you love.

7 tips for Managing the Housecleaning Service

Some folks really enjoy cleaning house. There is a satisfaction that comes from hard work and noticeable results. Whether you enjoy the activity of housecleaning or not you probably enjoy having a clean house (unless you’re a hoarder and that’s a topic for a different type of newsletter!) If you’re fortunate enough to employ a housecleaning service or a housekeeper there are a few simple things your housecleaner would like you to know…
1. Pick up!
Because most housecleaning services charge by the hour, a quick straightening up can save you big. Get the dishes done, pick up the blankets and toys in the living room, put away the laundry. Do what you need to do so they can get to the work you don’t want to do!
2. Communicate clear instructions.
Whether it’s a list or a sit down meeting or a full-on contract communicate clearly what you want cleaned and how (if you have a preference). If you don’t communicate exactly what you want, you’ll probably be disappointed. If you’re not sure what you want walk through the house with your housecleaner, they can give recommendations and you can figure it out together.
3. Put out the cat (or dog).
You don’t have to put them out, exactly, but get them out of way. First of all, not everyone loves cats or dogs. Secondly, many dogs like to chase the vacuum and cats can get in the way. It can be stressful and time consuming for your housecleaner to have to deal with your pets while trying to get their work done. Do what you can to make sure your pets won’t interfere.
4. Gross is gross.
If it’s too gross for you to handle, it’s too gross for your housecleaner, too. Don’t expect them to do something you wouldn’t. Just so we’re clear, we’re talking about poop. Pets and people!
5. Be realistic about how much time it takes.
You might have an extra big house. You might have extra messy kids. Whatever the case, be clear and honest with yourself and your service about how much time it takes to get your house cleaned to your satisfaction. If you only pay for an hour, but the job takes three hours, you will be disappointed with your service.
6. Accidents happen, check insurance.
Check your insurance, but also use an insured cleaning service. You will have a person in your house handling your stuff - some of it precious and delicate. Accidents happen - to everyone. And insured cleaning service is prepared to handle mistakes and take responsibility. Do what you can to protect your valuables from incident, to prevent accidents as much as possible.
7. Keep up.
To really enjoy the efforts of your cleaning service do your part to maintain your home’s appearance in between visits. Wiping down appliances, a quick run of the vacuum, even a swirl with the brush around the toilet is a 10 second job that can save you money and keep your home sparkling.
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