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Meet your local trusted professional. Meet Jennifer Halteman of MetLife Auto & Home:

Getting to know your trusted professionals in 5 questions.

As a realtor for over a decade, I have come across and worked with many professionals.

 Here are some of those trusted professionals, many whom I have personally worked

with, had clients work with, or have come highly recommended. 

Meet Jennifer:

Jennifer Halteman / MetLife Auto & Home / 603-929-6381

What services do you provide?

 Personal and small commercial insurance products. Like home, auto, flood and BOP policies.

What area do you cover? 

Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts

In 5 words describe yourself or your service?

Old Fashioned Customer Service.  

What are your top 3 tips for a new client or customer?

1. Understand your insurance, be informed

2. Have the RIGHT amount of insurance

3. Be active with your insurance, don't be on cruise control

If you could do or have any career, what would it be?

Well, I already have two amazing careers. Being a mom to two little girls and helping people save money while protecting their assets and belongings.

But if I had a choice to try something different it would be to travel the world like Bear Grylls!

Fireplaces are cozy and warm, but need to be maintained.

Warming your toes by the fire on a chilly Fall evening or a cold Winter night is wonderful, but can also be very dangerous with a dirty chimney. Take a look at this article I found and make sure you call a professional before you throw another log on the fire. 

Everything you need to know about prepping your fireplace and chimney for the winter. by: Karen B. Gibbs

How often should a chimney be inspected?

Every year. New wood-burning installations such as fireplaces or wood-burning stoves should be checked midway through the first heating season to confirm everything is working properly.

How often should a chimney be cleaned?

Cleaning should be done as necessary — normally when there’s a minimum 1/8-inch of deposit in the chimney. An annual inspection will determine if any sweeping or repairs are needed.

In some cases, it’s necessary to sweep more than once a year, especially if the operator, the fuel or the venting system are not properly matched.

Why get a chimney inspected and cleaned in the first place?

  1. The combustion process deposits an acidic material that weakens masonry or metal chimneys, causing them to deteriorate prematurely.
  2. Significant buildup of creosote, a flammable material resulting from incomplete combustion, may catch fire and spread to the attic and other areas of the home.
  3. If a chimney is used infrequently, critters and birds can collect and nest there, blocking the chimney. Leaves, twigs, pine cones and branches can obstruct the chimney, too.
  4. High winds or driving rain can also damage chimneys. CSIA recommends that, as a general rule, a chimney should have a rain cap to keep out animals and water as these are the primary reasons chimneys fail.

What should a professional chimney cleaning include? 

  1. Sweeping the fireplace, checking the firebox, liners, smoke chamber and flue, chimney exterior and inspecting the appliance for proper clearances.
  2. Recommendations for proper operation or replacement of equipment and necessary repairs to equipment or structure.
  3. A video inspection. It may mean an additional cost, but it could detect hidden damage

    How much should it cost? 

    According to Andy Klotz of Angie’s List, a standard chimney inspection costs about $100 to $250, depending on roof accessibility and the type of chimney inspected. Some chimney sweeps waive inspection fees if cleaning or repair work is done.

    Chimney cleanings typically cost $100 to $350, according to Klotz, depending on special equipment needed or complications, like animals — which may be living or dead — in the chimney.

    How do I select a qualified chimney sweep?

  4. 1.Hire CSIA Certified chimney sweeps and verify that the certification is active. For more information, go online or call CSIA at 317.837.5362. 2.

  5. 2. Ask for references and warranty/guarantees for the work provided.

  6. 3. Ask for proof of insurance (at least $300,000), and verify with the insurer that the policy is current.

  7. What to do for other chimneys and heat sources in the home

  8. Wood-burning stoves also have flues and chimneys that need a yearly inspection. If the stove is being operated ideally, you will find a gray ash as the predominant residue. However, if there’s shiny build-up on the inside of the door, it’s an indication that the fire is being burned much too low.

    Low-burning fires produce an even greater accumulation of creosote on the chimney. But don’t be so quick to burn hotter until the chimney is swept, warns Eldridge. That’s because turning up the heat when there’s an accumulation of creosote in the chimney could cause a fire.

Are you protecting your family from a fire risk in the home?

Have you checked your smoke and co detectors? Heating season is coming up, that means more possible fire hazards and a larger risk of carbon monoxide poisoning with closed windows and doors.

Make sure you have a plan to replace all batteries every year and whenever buying a new home, replace them right away, so there is no confusion on the yearly schedule to change and you know they are new batteries. 

Meet your local trusted professional. Meet Hillary Meekins of Anne Holiday, CPA:

Getting to know your trusted professionals in 5 questions.

As a realtor for over a decade, I have come across and worked with many professionals.

 Here are some of those trusted professionals, many whom I have personally worked

with, had clients work with, or have come highly recommended. 

Meet Hillary:

Hillary Meekins  / Anne Holliday CPA & Executive Coach / 603.431.3322 / hillary@annehollidaycpa.com  /

Website: www.annehollidaycpa.com

What services do you provide?

We’re here for all phases of your life – both personal and business - from education planning and start ups to retirement planning and succession planning. We offer results driven services with a long track record of creating wealth and adding value for our clients. 

What area do you cover? 

We have clients all over the United States!

In 5 words describe yourself or your service?

We help create momentum. 

What are your top 3 tips for a new client or customer?

1. Build your professional network (have a trusted CPA, Financial Advisor, Lawyer, etc. on your side - need vetted referrals? We've got them!)
2. Maintain and keep excellent financial records. (Need help? Just ask us!)
3. Knowledge is power! The more you know, and ask questions, the more sound decisions you will make. Being proactive is one of our main qualities, and we LOVE when clients embrace that!

If you could do or have any career, what would it be?

Anne definitely loves being a Trusted Advisor, Coach and CPA - but she always wanted to be a Veterinarian since she has a deep love for animals. 

I always wanted to be a College Professor, but my role at the firm has allowed me to be in a teaching/mentoring capacity with our clients... among other roles! 

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    Meet Your Local, Trusted Professional. here is Brian Pettee......

    Getting to know your trusted professionals in 5 questions.

    As a realtor for over a decade, I have come across and worked with many professionals.

     Here are some of those professionals, many whom I have personally worked

    with, had clients work with, or have come highly recommended to me. 

    Meet Brian:

    Brian Pettee / Home Inspections / 603.969.2068 / waphomeinspections@gmail.com 

    What services do you provide?

    I do home inspections for people that have signed a purchase and sale agreement and want to know critical information about the home they are about to buy.

    What area do you cover? 

    I work in the greater Seacoast NH region and southeast Maine.

    In 5 words describe yourself or your service?

    Knowledgeable, trustworthy, professional, honest, experienced

    What are your top 3 tips for a new client or customer?

    1. Do your due diligence when buying a home.

    2. Hire good people to help you in the home buying process.

    3. Do not be in a rush, buying a home will be one of the largest investments you make in your life.

    If you could do or have any career, what would it be?

     Believe it or not I love being a Home Inspector. I have done many jobs in my life and I am glad I finally

    arrived at a career I am very good at and enjoy doing! I like helping my clients make an informed decision

    on the purchase of their dream house.

    Meet your local trusted professional. Meet Lorie Graves:

    Getting to know your trusted professionals in 5 questions.

    As a realtor for over a decade, I have come across and worked with many professionals.

     Here are some of those trusted professionals, many whom I have personally worked

    with, had clients work with, or have come highly recommended. 

    Meet Lorie:

    Lorie Graves  / Affordable Health Solutions / 603.433.8821 / loriegraves@ahsnh.com 

    What services do you provide?

    Health Insurance product to: Individuals who do not have health insurance offered through their employer. Group Health Insurance

    and Medicare (65+).

    What area do you cover? 

    Rockingham & Strafford County in  New Hampshire / York County in Maine.

    In 5 words describe yourself or your service?

    Serve my clients with integrity. 

    What are your top 3 tips for a new client or customer?

    1. Do not hesitate to ask me questions. If I do not have the answer, I will get it for you.

    2. I am here for you even after point of sale.

    3. Trust your broker. 

    If you could do or have any career, what would it be?

     To fix the health insurance crisis! 

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      Families who eat together, stay together. by: Mirele Mann

      9 Scientifically Proven Reasons to Eat Dinner as a Family

      Families who eat together, stay together.

      Family having dinner together

      The dinner table is a sacred place for a family to come together (Shutterstock)

      Courtesy of almost every family sitcom made in the last 60 years, the family dinner as we know it is an occasion for meatloaf, mashed potatoes, at least one fight over the salt shaker, and a few failed attempts at finding out how school was. Though cliche, this familiar scene highlights an important part of being a family, a meaningful gathering, a sacred time - dinner. With family dinners on the decline and 59% of Americans reporting that their family today has fewer family dinners than when they were growing up, perhaps it’s time to turn the tables. These nine science-based reasons are proof that, meatloaf or not, family dinners are important. 

      1. FAMILY DINNERS MEAN BETTER FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS

      Eating meals together has the potential to strengthen family bonds as it provides a daily time for the whole family to be together. For younger children, routine family meals can provide a sense of security and a feeling of belonging in the family. Older children and teenagers, too, prefer eating together as a family. In a recent Columbia University study, 71% of teenagers said they consider talking, catching-up, and spending time with family members as the best part of family dinners.

      2. FAMILY MEALS LEAD TO HEALTHIER FOOD CHOICES

      Eating family dinners is associated with healthy dietary food patterns. A 2000 survey found that the nine to 14-year-olds who ate dinner with their families most frequently consumed more fruits and vegetables and less soda and fried foods. Their diets also had higher amounts of many key nutrients, like calcium, iron, and fiber. Matthew W. Gillman, MD, the survey’s lead researcher, noted that family dinners allow for both "discussions of nutrition [and] provision of healthful foods."

      child eating healthy foods

      Eating dinner as a family promotes healthy foods choices (Shutterstock)

      3.  EATING AS A FAMILY LEADS TO BETTER GRADES

      Studies have proven that there’s a significant link between family dinners and academic performance. A report by CASA found that teens who have between five and seven  family dinners per week were twice as likely to report receiving mostly A’s and B’s in school, compared to those teens who have fewer than three family dinners per week. In addition, only 9% of teens who ate frequently with their families did poorly in school, according to the report.

      4. FAMILY DINNERS ARE A CHANCE TO EXPLORE NEW FOODS

      Family meals have proven to be perfect opportunities for parents to expose children to different foods and expand their tastes. In a 2003 study in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, children were offered sweet red pepper and asked to rate how much they liked it. Then, each day for the next eight days, they were invited to eat as much of the pepper as they wanted. By the end of the experiment, the children rated the pepper more highly and were eating more of it. 

      5. FAMILY DINNERS LEAD TO GREATER HAPPINESS

      Research examining 5,000 teenagers has shown that when children eat with their parents regularly, they are more likely to be emotionally strong and have better mental health. Teens who ate regular family meals were also more likely to be adjusted, have good manners and communication skills. This effect is not restricted to the children - mothers who ate with their families often were also found to be happier and less stressed as compared to mothers who did not.

      father and son making dinner together

      Eating and prepareing homemade meals strengthens the family bond (Shutterstock)

      6. HOMEMADE MEALS PROMOTE PORTION CONTROL

      The average restaurant meal has as much as 60% more calories than a homemade meal. Combine the fact that portions served in restaurants are continuing to expand with that fact that when we’re presented with more food, we’re more likely to eat more food, and it becomes clear that eating at home is simply healthier.

      7.  FAMILY DINNERS EQUAL HEALTHY KIDS

      When families eat together, young children are less likely to be overweight or obesebecause these children are eat regular, nutritious, home cooked meals, and also help in making or serving those meals. 

      8. FAMILY DINNERS RELIEVE STRESS

      If you have a demanding job, finding time to eat with your family may actually leave you feeling less stressed. In 2008, researchers at Brigham Young University conducted a study of IBM employees and found that sitting down to a family meal helped working moms reduce the tension and strain from long hours at the office.

      mother eating dinner with family

      Sharing a meal with your family reduces stress, especially after a long work day (Shutterstock)

      9. EATING AT HOME SAVES MONEY

      In 2007, the average household spent $3,465 on meals at home, and $2,668 on meals away from home, according to the national Consumer Expenditure Survey from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Per meal, that’s about $8 per meal outside of the home, and only about $4.50 per each meal made in your own kitchen.

      MIRELE MANN, EDITOR & WRITER

       

      Why does one click on a property get me four phone calls?

      The wonderful world of on-line marketing. The big search sites, like realtor.com and Zillow use agents listings, than market these listings to consumers. As a realtor, I (we) can pay Zillow to show up on others listings, therefore getting "leads" or your contact information when you inquire on a property. If we pay these companies enough, we can eliminate other agents from showing up on our own listings. 

      This is where the multiple phone calls, emails, and texts come in. When you click on a property for information, 3/4 agents get notified and many times they will reach out to you. Sometimes these agents buy into zip codes or areas they aren't familiar with or even cover. 

      If buyers like these sites to search for properties, I think that's great, they can offer some good information. If you want to avoid multiple agents contacting you and you want a dedicated agent looking out for your best interest, find yourself a buyers agent. Click for More Info 

      Dedication that moves you.™

      Do you understand market conditions and it has an affect on pricing and home values?

      Probably the second most question I'm asked, besides "How are you", is "How's the market"? Currently it is a sellers market, this doesn't mean as a seller you should over price your house to the point no one looks at it and it also doesn't mean the condition you keep your house in doesn't have any effect on it's salability. And as a buyer this means you need to be patient and have a buyers agent that is looking out for your best interest. When deciding to write an offer, it's important to know your comps, so that you don't over pay. Ok, back on point, please take a look at this chart to better understand how it is determined whether it is a buyers market or a sellers market. This is a simple understanding of how supply and demand work. For more information, please contact Stephen Oates. 

      Curious what is your home worth? Click here for an instant valuation:

       

      Show me the money....or a pre-approval.

      Ok, I don't need to see a bag full of cash, but proof of funds or a pre-approval letter from a reputable lender is important. There are reasons, as a REALTOR™ I ask my clients for this, and it's for their own best interest. Here are a couple of these reasons:

      1. We need to know what we are looking for, without a pre-approval, we don't know your "buying power" or comfort level.  This can save headaches, heartache, and everyone their time down the road. 

      2. Not all loans are created equal. You may qualify or some types of loans, but not others. Also, all loans don't fit all houses.  Which loan best fits your needs?

      3. When making an offer, most sellers (listing agents) will want to see that the potential buyer is a capable buyer and require a pre-approval or proof of funds before showing the property. (I always ask the question when representing a seller)

      4.  This also gives you a chance to meet with the one who is going to "show you the money". Building the right team around you makes for a much more enjoyable and surprise free transaction. 

      I hope this gives you a quick idea on why a pre-approval letter or proof of funds is important. For more information or some contacts for a local lender, please email steve@soates.com or call 603-777-7908.