Marc Gottesdiener | Hartford Real Estate, West Hartford Real Estate, Newington Real Estate


Now more than ever it’s important to take personal steps to decrease your carbon footprint on the earth. As world leaders make plans to decrease carbon emissions worldwide, the threat of climate change can seem distant and far away. However, we are already seeing the beginning of the devastating effects it will have on the earth and humanity alike.

One of the ways that homeowners can reduce their carbon footprint is to turn to alternate forms of energy production, like wind and solar power. In this article, we’ll discuss residential solar power, its benefits to you as a homeowner, and the different options you have available.

Why go solar?

Aside from the vitally important environmental aspect we mentioned above, rooftop solar is becoming increasingly beneficial to homeowners. Not only are many homeowners seeing their electricity bills cut in half, but leasing programs make installing panels a zero-liability issue for homeowners worried about damage to the panels or to their roof.

Solar technology is constantly improving. In the very near future, consumers will be able to move entirely off the grid when it comes to producing electricity for their home.

Tesla’s Elon Musk recently announced a fully integrated solar rooftop that he claims will be as affordable if not cheaper than a regular roof. The bonus? The power that Tesla’s roofs produce will be able to be stored in an integrated battery.

Aesthetics

Homeowners are often worried about the way their homes will look with solar panels on them, which is a valid concern. Fortunately, new technology has made solar more visually appealing than ever. Soon, homeowners will have the option of choosing between different styles of solar roofs that look like regular shingles.

Alternatively, if you don’t want the solar panels at your home at all, there are currently companies that allow homeowners to utilize off-site solar panels for their home. This is ideal if your home isn’t in a position to receive much sunlight, or if you just don’t want to have to deal with the panels being on your property at all.

Thinking ahead

When considering solar, you also have the future to consider. Not just of the planet, but of your wallet. Solar is an investment. If you plan on paying off your solar panels within 10 years, you could end up with years of free electricity, which adds up.

Similarly, many solar programs offer a guarantee that your rates won’t go up or they will rise slower than standard utility companies. So, even if you can’t afford to buy your solar system outright, you can still invest in the long term.

Helping the economy

Fossil fuel defenders often claim the loss of jobs associated with the increase of the renewable energy industries. At the same time, jobs to manufacture, sell, install, and repair solar and wind power are skyrocketing.

Regardless of which option you choose, reducing your carbon footprint is doing your small part to help the environment for your children and grandchildren. And, it can save you a lot of money in the long run too.


In the warm weather months is there anything better than enjoying your backyard with friends and family? If placing a bid on a home that is almost perfect but lacking an up to par backyard create room in your budget to design the space into a place worth coming home to. Create a complete experience for guests and become everybody's favorite host with these four must-have upscale upgrades for your home.

Landscaping may not seem like it would be the most important aspect of creating a luxe patio experience however it is what completes the area. Properly designed landscaping brings the different zones of your backyard together into one cohesive space. When you’re ready to begin seeking out a company to design your home's landscaping look for those with plenty of experience working on luxury homes and have examples of work that align with your style preferences.

Most landscaping companies also offer hardscaping services as well. Create a one of a kind patio with unique stone pattern designs that flow with the landscaping of your yard. Add visual interest and style with raised flower beds, stone walls, and walkways. A well-versed expert will know how to take your lifestyle and typical gathering size into account to create the perfect design for you.

A must for any host is an outdoor cooking area. Go beyond the typical grill and patio table set up for a full kitchen setup with an island for guest seating. This another area of expertise for an experienced landscape designer and an extension of your hardscaping design. Many will also have appliances on offer for you to choose from as a part of your package. Create a seamless outdoor kitchen with a built-in grill, full sink and plenty of counter space for food prep. Another popular edition is a small fridge to keep necessities at hand eliminating the need to trek back to the kitchen.

Create a private pool area to relax and enjoy without being in full view from your neighbor's kitchen window. A current favorite luxe option for many homeowners at the moment is installing a natural stone waterfall. This features benefits are twofold - it can create both visual and noise privacy. Another option with dual benefits is adding tall shrubs and/or trees. These can allow for visual privacy and create shade for hot, sunny days.   

Investing the time and resources into developing a one of a kind backyard and patio will bring you years of vacation-worthy relaxation and a welcoming space to entertain friends and family. Look for a landscaping contractor with the skill and know-how to create a stunning, well-designed space. Many also offer maintenance services to keep your gorgeous new landscaping well maintained.


After you accept an offer on your house, it is only a matter of time before you need to move out. This means a home seller will need to start packing up his or her belongings and figure out which items need to stay and which items need to go.

Ultimately, it often pays to leave high-quality items behind as part of a home sale. And if you include top-notch items as part of a home listing, you may be better equipped than other home sellers to receive multiple outstanding homebuying proposals.

Determining which items to leave behind as part of a home sale can be simple. In fact, here are three of the most common items that home sellers choose to offer in a home listing:

1. Refrigerator

If you intend to move into a house that already has a refrigerator, there may be no need to bring your current refrigerator to your new address. Thus, you can include your current refrigerator as part of your home listing.

A refrigerator that looks and performs great may be worth several hundred dollars. Therefore, this appliance could become a key part of a tight negotiation with a homebuyer and may help you move closer to finalizing a home sale agreement.

Of course, if you include your refrigerator in your home listing, you also won't have to worry about moving this big, heavy appliance to your new address.

2. Washer and Dryer

Your washer and dryer have helped you keep your clothes clean and dry for many years. Now, these appliances may prove to be exceedingly valuable to a homebuyer who wants to avoid the hassle of shopping for a new washer and dryer.

If possible, it may be worthwhile to include a washer and dryer in a home listing. Plus, you can include information about the age and condition of your washer and dryer to help your home listing stand out from others.

3. Big-Screen TV

A big-screen TV that served as the centerpiece of your living room or man cave may be tough to move. Thankfully, you can include this item in a home listing and make it simple for a homebuyer to enjoy a wonderful TV as soon as he or she buys your house.

Determining which items to leave behind as part of a home sale sometimes can be tough. Fortunately, if you work with a real estate agent, you can get expert assistance as you put together a home listing.

A real estate agent is happy to provide comprehensive support throughout the home selling process. He or she will learn about your home and help you craft a home listing that highlights your house's features. In addition, a real estate agent will set up home showings, respond to your home selling concerns and questions and much more.

When it comes to selling your house, don't hesitate to leave various first-rate items behind. By doing so, you may be able to make your home more attractive to potential homebuyers and boost your chances of a fast home sale.


If you've lived in your home for more than a couple years, chances are you've grown rather attached to it. Whether you're selling your house because your family has outgrown it or your company has transferred you to another location, you're probably attaching a lot of sentimental value to the price tag. Unfortunately, sentimental value does not translate into dollars and cents in today's real estate market.

The emotions of prospective buyers will often play a role in their decision to make on offer on your house, but they're probably not going to pay more than the market value for your property -- unless there's a bidding war situation going on. One of the best ways to determine a fair and reasonable asking price for your home is to have it appraised by an experienced real estate agent. Their appraisal will be based on objective data, such as the selling price of comparable homes in your area. The location and condition of your home will have a bearing on pricing your home effectively, as will the prevailing market conditions and other factors. Although online estimates can sometimes give you a ballpark figure of what your house may be worth, a local appraisal is more accurate

A common misconception among homeowners is that a $10,000 home improvement expenditure should justify a $10,000 increase in the selling price of a home. Although that concept may seem logical, it unfortunately doesn't work that way in the real estate market. An updated kitchen, bathroom, or roof may make your house more appealing to prospective buyers and help it sell faster, but it probably won't have a dollar-for-dollar impact on the price buyers would be willing to pay. Since each selling situation is unique, however, your local real estate agent is the best person to consult regarding a fair asking price for your home.

Avoiding Home Seller Mistakes

In addition to overpricing their home, another mistake home sellers make involves three related activities: decorating, staging, and attempting to create curb appeal. In spite of a homeowner's best intentions, their decorating and home staging ideas may clash with those of the house-buying public. When you attempt to tackle home staging on your own, several things could go wrong.

  • You could either spend too much or too little on making repairs and sprucing up your home's appearance.
  • You could spend your time and money upgrading inconsequential features of your home, while overlooking the real important changes that need to be made.
In either case, you're missing the mark when it comes to maximizing the marketability of your home. That's why it pays to take advantage of the knowledge, expertise, and objectivity of a professional real estate agent. Their recommendations on pricing and home staging will be based on experience, best practices, objective criteria, and current market conditions.

There are more cleaning supplies on the market than ever before. If you walk down the cleaning section of Target you'll find an array of brooms, scrubbers, and solutions that are all variations on the same simple ideas. Furthermore, these products have begun capitalizing on single-use components like a sweeper with throwaway pads or disposable dusters. All of these expenses add up and before you know it you're spending up to $70 each month just on cleaning supplies. Fortunately, many frugal consumers have noticed this trend and have come up with creative ways to save money on cleaning. In this article, we'll cover some frugal cleaning products and solutions that will save you a ton of money at the checkout line.

Sweeping, dusting, and mopping

Let's face it, the Swiffer is a great invention. It mops, sweeps, and dusts without the mess of a bucket of water. Plus it's lightweight and versatile making it useful for many surfaces around the home. The down side? Having to buy all of those expensive replacement pads. If you're like me, you feel a twinge of guilt whenever you throw out at item that seems wasteful. For me, cleaning supplies are the epitome of wastefulness. So, instead of using the throwaway pads you could do a a few things. First, you could buy a reusable pad online. Some are designed to fit various sweepers. Alternatively, there are some cloths that you can buy at your local dollar store that will fit onto your sweeper just fine. Once one gets dirty, put the next one on and sink wash them all when you're done. The other option is to knit or crochet your own sweeper cover. There are lots of patterns online that will help you get started, plus a hand-made cloth adds more meaning to the mundane work of sweeping the house. For those spots you don't dust with your sweeper-duster (like a TV, or the tops of picture frames), you could always dust with your used dryer sheets that you'd otherwise just toss in the trash. Keep them in a bag in your cabinet so you remember to use them.

Go paperless

Paper towels and napkins are always expensive and seldom on sale. Plus, all that paper usage does a number on the environment. Instead of reaching for a paper towel at dinner, keep a stack of microfiber cloths, handkerchiefs, or hand towels. When this isn't possible, like in the case of a big cookout, use choose-a-size paper towels to get more usage out of a roll. And speaking of choosing a size, the next time you buy sponges or "magic erasers," cut them in half to double the length of time you can use them.

Cleaning solutions

Making your own cleaning solutions has many benefits. First, you get to save money because the supplies tend to be cheap, household items. Second, you get to avoid all of the harsh chemicals that are often added to commercial cleaners, helping your health and the environment. Third, you can make them in bulk and not have to worry about them running out. Recipes for homemade cleaning solutions and air fresheners are abundant online. In general, however, they rely on a few simple ingredients: water, vinegar, baking soda, and some type of citrus like lemons, limes, or oranges.