Allison Jaffe | Bronx Real Estate, Westchester Real Estate, Manhattan Real Estate


You know there are certain household items that need to be replaced regularly. But just how regularly is where things might start to get fuzzy. Especially those big tickets items that need to be replaced on a yearly span rather than months or days. Keep reading to discover how often you need to replace items around the home. Pillows. You want to replace the pillows in your home every couple of years. You’ve probably heard by now that up to a third of a regularly used pillow’s weight can be attributed to dust and dead skin cells. You may not, however, made the connection that a dust filled pillow equals dust mites. While dust mites do not carry communicable diseases, they do pose as an allergy and/or asthma irritant. HVAC filters. During the summer and winter months when your system is working longer hours to maintain your home’s temperatures you will want to change your filters each month. Meanwhile, in the spring and fall, you can do so less frequently, changing it around the three-month mark. Changing your filter regularly will keep your system running efficiently and save you money on energy costs in the long run. Fire extinguisher. You have a fire extinguisher in your home, right? If you don’t I suggest you run out and get one right away. Fire extinguishers can be replaced every ten years, however, they do need to be tested monthly and inspected regularly. Toilet brush. This is one not many homeowners think of, if ever. However, it advisable to replace your toilet brush every six months with regular cleanings in between. As you can image, toilet brushes are host to all kinds of germs and bacteria you don’t want to hang around your home. Toothbrushes. If your family stays on top of their recommended regular teeth cleanings every three months this point shouldn’t be an issue. However, it is one worth mentioning. Your family’s toothbrushes should be replaced every three months as they can develop bacteria that lead to gingivitis and/or tooth decay. And isn’t that what we’re trying to avoid when we brush our teeth? Smoke detectors. It is best practice to proactively replace the batteries in your smoke detector twice a year. With that said it is a good idea to also replace the smoke detector itself every ten years to ensure you have an up to date model. Throughout those ten years, however, you should be regularly testing your alarms. If you have recently moved to a new home and are unsure of how old your smoke alarm system is it is a good idea to plan on replacing them in the near future. Hopefully, you already regularly maintain these items. However, if you can’t remember the last time you have replaced any of the items mentioned you should consider making a plan to invest in some replacements. Making a spreadsheet in your home binder or setting up alerts on your virtual calendar will help you stay on top of the regular maintenance your household items require.

Buying a home is a very detail-oriented process, and there's a lot of important things you can overlook if you're not organized.

Home buyers generally have the opportunity to do a last-minute inspection of the premises to make sure everything's up to standards prior to closing on the property.

A real estate buyer's agent can accompany you on the final inspection or provide you with advice on what to look for.

If you've already visited the home a couple times and had the house professionally inspected, you're probably well-acquainted with any major malfunctions, flaws, or repair issues. In many cases, home buyers may reach an agreement with the seller to fix, replace, or make allowances for mechanical or cosmetic problems. While real estate negotiations and sales agreements are as varied as the people and properties involved, there are typically dozens of things buyers need to check on before they sign the final documents and accept ownership of the property.

Final Walkthrough Tips

As you're doing the final walk-through of the house, it's necessary to remember or have notes on the condition of the home when you last looked at it. You'll also want to have a clear idea of what appliances, fixtures, and window treatments are supposed to be remain in the house after it's been vacated by the seller. Depending on how close your final walk-through is to the actual closing, that has probably already happened.

If there's anything missing that the seller agreed to include in the sale, then that's an issue you'll want to discuss with your real estate agent or attorney. Any property damage that may have resulted from moving furniture and other belongings should also be discussed before final papers are signed. The same thing would apply to landscaping changes that appear to be inconsistent with the sales agreement. Your buyer's agent and/or lawyer can serve as intermediary in getting these issues clarified and ironed out.

To make sure your final inspection is thorough, it's a good idea to have a "final walk-through checklist" to help keep you organized and focused. You'll want to take a last-minute inventory of items that are supposed to be included with the property sale, such as appliances, lighting fixtures, furnishings, window treatments, children's play structures, hot tubs, and anything else that was agreed to in the sales contract.

Other items you'll need access to may include garage door openers, manuals for appliances and mechanical systems, warranties, invoices for repairs made, and remote control devices for things like ceiling fans, alarms, and other systems.

Your checklist and final walkthrough should focus on a variety of items, including the working condition of appliances, the electrical system, plumbing fixtures, and the condition of walls, floors, ceilings, doors, windows, and landscaping features. For a complete checklist, look online or consult your real estate agent.


Rome was not built in the day, and much in the same vein, buying a home may prove to be an exhausting yet rewarding process.

Ultimately, buying a house can be a lot of work. A typical homebuyer may need to commit substantial time and resources to browse the housing market, set up home showings and submit offers on residences. Therefore, homebuyers may experience many ups and downs as the homebuying process moves forward.

What are some of the most common feelings that homebuyers may experience? Here's a closer look at three feelings that you might experience as you search for your dream home.

1. Excitement

Entering the housing market is a time of change, leading to unparalleled excitement.

When you begin your search for the perfect home, you'll likely start with a clean slate. You may be able to move to any city or town in the United States. Or, you can move close to family members and friends. You can even live on your own or with family members and friends.

The possibilities are endless when you start your home search. And with a real estate agent at your disposal, you'll be able to maintain your excitement throughout the homebuying journey.

Your real estate agent will keep you up to date about new homes as they become available. He or she also will learn about your homebuying needs and enable you to narrow your search accordingly. Thus, your real estate agent will help you stay excited as you navigate the journey from homebuyer to homeowner.

2. Stress

Unfortunately, stress is common for homebuyers. As you prepare to check out houses and submit offers on homes, your stress levels may rise accordingly.

Lucky for you, hiring an experienced real estate agent can help you minimize stress levels.

Your real estate agent is happy to respond to your homebuying concerns and queries without delay. By doing so, he or she will help put your mind at ease. And if your stress levels start to rise, your real estate agent is available to provide you with the necessary support to help you alleviate stress.

3. Relief

Relief occurs after a homebuyer secures his or her dream home. At this point, a home seller may have accepted a homebuyer's offer, and a homebuyer likely has completed a home inspection that meets or exceeds his or her expectations. As such, a homebuyer only needs to finalize a purchase agreement to acquire his or her dream residence.

With support from a real estate agent, you can reach the relief stage of the homebuying process quickly. Your real estate agent will go above and beyond the call of duty to streamline the homebuying cycle. As a result, you should have no trouble finding and purchasing your dream home if you collaborate with an experienced real estate professional.

Get ready for the homebuying journey – work with an experienced real estate agent, and you can move one step closer to buying your ideal home.


We all know that buying a home is expensive. For first-time buyers who don’t have the luxury of equity for a down payment, it can be difficult to find a way to finance your home without taking on a huge interest rate and mortgage insurance.

Fortunately, loan programs like those offered by the U.S. Veterans Affairs can be a godsend. However, there is a great deal of confusion around who is eligible for VA loans and how to acquire them.

So, in today’s post, we’re going to cover some of the frequently asked questions of VA loans. That way, you can feel confident in knowing whether or not it’s a good financing option for you and your family.

VA Loans FAQ

Who is eligible for a VA Loan?

VA loans aren’t just for veterans. Most members of the military, including Reserve and National Guard members can apply. Additionally, spouses of service members who died from a service-related disability and those who died on active duty can apply as well.

How long do you have to service to be eligible?

The VA defines eligibility as having served no less than 90 days of service during wartime and 181 days of continuous service during peacetime.

Who are VA Loans offered by?

Like any other loan, VA loans are offered by private lenders. The difference is that VA loans are guaranteed by the government. That means that the federal government takes on some of the risk of lending to you, therefore making it possible to secure a loan with little or no down payment.

Should I make a down payment on a VA loan?

If you have the means, making a down payment will almost certainly save you money in the long run. If you can put down 10% of your total mortgage amount, you can also significantly reduce the VA Funding Fee.

Will I have to pay private mortgage insurance?

Private mortgage insurance (PMI) is something that borrowers pay on top of their mortgage payments and interest. This additional insurance helps borrowers buy a home with a small down payment. VA loans allow you to secure a mortgage without PMI.

Are VA loans different for active duty, National Guard, and Army Reserve members?

Each type of service member is eligible for a VA loan. However, there are some minor differences regarding the VA Funding Fee. With no down payment, an active duty member would pay 2.15% of the loan amount in fees. National Guard and Army Reserve members pay around 2.40% with no down payment.

What does my credit score need to be to get a VA loan?

The VA doesn’t have a set minimum credit score. However, the private lenders that offer the loan do. On average, the lowest credit score that you can secure a VA loan with is around 620. That being said, a higher score will secure you a lower interest rate, saving you money over the lifetime of your loan.


You probably know that in your home surface cleaning is much different than deep cleaning. Once you get the right spots down that need to be dusted, next, you need to vacuum up all of that dust and dirt. A well-vacuumed house is a happy house (and a dust bunny-free home!) The areas listed below are easy to miss, but once you get the hang of cleaning them, your home will be that much cleaner.


Between The Chair Cushions


Your kids may surf the couch cushions for extra change, but there’s another treasure to be had under there: plenty of crumbs and dirt. People eat on the couch and hang out there a lot. That means there’s dust, dirt, crumbs, hair, and more under those cushions of each chair in your home. Take the time to vacuum and get up all of the gunk. 


The Stairs


You probably go up and down your stairs at least a dozen times a day, but do you always take the time to vacuum them? The problem is that it can be hard to find an outlet for the vacuum and it can be a pain to move the attachments in order to get in all of those nooks on the stairs. Your best bet is to use a separate vacuum all together on the stairs. Use a lightweight cordless unit to make your life easier. 


The Windows


Your windows and window treatments are most likely neglected. Take the time to vacuum these up the next time you have the vac unit out. Curtains and blinds can harbor a lot of dust that’s difficult to remove. Use the brush attachment to achieve squeaky clean windows.   


The Doormat


You wipe your feet on it every time you come in the house, but o you remember to clean it? Start by shaking out the doormat outside to get loose debris off of it. You should take the time to vacuum up dirt and debris that collects around the doormat to keep anything leaves or dirt from entering further into your home. 


Lampshades


This part of the house may be a less obvious place to vacuum. If your lampshade is dirty, the light won’t correctly shine through the lamp. Remove the lampshade then use a hose attachment to remove dust from the inner and outer portions of the lampshade.


Mattress


The next time you change your bedding, flip your mattress, or the seasons change, take the time to vacuum your mattress. Dust mites and all kinds of things can be harbored in the mattress. It’s important to give your bed some TLC every once in a while.