Thursday, October 31, 2013

Weather-Stripping Cuts Energy Costs

Winter is fast approaching in Lexington.  Here’s how to replace weather stripping and stop air leaks.

Identifying Worn Weather Stripping

Weather stripping deteriorates due to age, friction, and exposure to the elements. It also can be damaged by people, pets, and pests. At least once each year, inspect your windows and doors to check for air leaks that indicate your weather stripping isn’t doing its job.
Self-adhesive foam tape loses its grip over time, causing it to pull away from the door or window frame -- or fall off completely. Foam also can lose its resilience, no longer springing up to fill the gap.
Rubber and vinyl weather stripping becomes dry, brittle, and cracked. Over time, it can also lose its shape and effectiveness.
Spring-metal V-shaped weather stripping bends out of shape, cracks in spots, and comes loose thanks to missing nails.

How to Remove Old Weather Stripping

For peel-and-stick-type weather stripping, simply pull the foam strips off the door or window by hand. Stripping that is fastened in place with nails or screws requires a more tedious process of locating and removing all the fasteners.

Options for New Weather Stripping
There’s no shortage of weather stripping options at hardware stores and home improvement centers. As is often the case, the cheaper and easier the product is to install, the less effective and durable it probably is over time.

Adhesive-backed foam tape is inexpensive — costing less than a buck a foot — and peel-and-stick types are easy as pie to install. It works best where the bottom of a window sash closes against a sill, or a door closes against a doorframe. It’s the compression that produces the seal. Don't expect this product to survive longer than 3 to 5 years.

V-shaped weather stripping, sometimes called tension-seal weather stripping, is the best option for the side channels of a double-hung window or a tight-fitting door. This product springs open to close gaps and plug leaky windows and doors.

Inexpensive peel-and-stick V-shaped vinyl (as little as $0.50 per foot) is easy to install but won’t last much longer than foam tape. More expensive copper or bronze styles cost as much as $2 per foot and must be nailed into place, but they look better and will last decades.

Tubular rubber or vinyl gaskets prove the most effective for sealing large and irregular gaps, such as around an old door. These hollow tubes are large enough to plug big gaps but soft enough to compress nearly flat. Types that are nailed in place last longer than peel-and-stick varieties. Prices range from less than $1 per foot for peel-and-stick to $1.25 per foot for nail-in-place.

Prepare the Surface
Before installing any new weather stripping, start with a smooth, clean, and dry surface. Remove all old adhesive using an adhesive cleaner and perhaps a light sanding. Fill and sand old nail holes. If old screw holes can’t be reused, fill and sand those as well.

Installation Tips
Some peel-and-stick types should only be applied when the temps are at least 50 degrees. Check the product label.
Start with one small area to make sure the door or window opens and closes without difficulty before completing the entire job.
Measure twice before cutting to prevent mistakes and waste.
Cut rubber and vinyl varieties with shears or a utility knife, and metal types with tin snips. Be careful not to bend the thin metal while cutting it.
Make sure to face the opening of V-shaped weather stripping out toward the elements to prevent moisture from getting inside.

Installing Weather Stripping
Adhesive-style weather stripping: Remove the backing and press firmly in place. Removing the backing as you go helps prevent the sticky part of the strip from accidentally adhering to something it shouldn’t.

Nail-in weather stripping: Fasten the strips in place by nailing through the pre-punched holes. For double-hung windows, you’ll need to install the lower half, drop the sash, and then install the upper half.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

5 Things to Look for When Buying a Lexington Home

Lexington is vibrant right now with the stunning fall backdrop luring residents and visitors alike to spend time exploring our great town.  In fact, you may be visiting my blog because you’re considering relocating to the area!  If so, you’ve come to the right place! 

As a Lexington Real Estate agent for a number of years, I know that buyers can be leery of buying a home in the fall.  They feel it would be better to wait until more homes come on the market in the spring and summer months.  However, the fall can be a great time to buy!

Sellers are most likely hoping to get their home sold before the holiday season and are more willing to negotiate on the price.  You’ll also find there’s less competition since many buyers will wait until the spring.  Because of these two factors, you can find a great home at a great price this fall in Lexington!

As you begin searching for a home in Lexington, here are five things you’ll want to look for in a home to ensure it’s the right fit for you.

1. Layout and Space-  Know your goals for the home, whether it’s a long term home or a home that you’ll use for hosting family and friends. Floor plan, along with the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, play a role in how comfortable and efficient your home is for you.  Although you want the most space for your money, buying a home that’s too large may not be in your best interest.

2. Location- It’s often said that location is key, and that’s very true!  You can always make changes to the interior and exterior of your home, making it look exactly as you would like, but you cannot move your home to a new location. Be sure that the location you choose matches your desires for things such schools, work, daily errands and community.  A home that’s a good price, but is not in the community that fits you best may not be the home for you.

3. Kitchen- For many, the kitchen is the “heart of the home” so you want to know you enjoy the space! Remodeling is always an option, but is a huge undertaking and can become very costly.  Determine what projects you’re willing to undertake and the costs associated with the remodel. 

4. Closets and Storage- Not having enough closets and storage can be a huge point of frustration in a home.  Be sure to check closets and storage options in a potential home.  It will make life much easier in the long run.

5. Finishes- Look at those special details that make the home stand out. While this is minor, it is still what makes a home feel pulled together. If you absolutely love the home, but aren’t keen on the finishes; buy it. You can always make additional updates later!

I hope these tips help as you get started with your Lexington home search!

If you have questions about living in Lexington, about the Lexington Real Estate market, or you’re ready to begin the home buying process; please contact me today

Theresa D'Antuono

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Top 10 Websites for Halloween Ideas

Halloween is next Wednesday. You might be going to parties this weekend and there will definitely be trick or treating next week. Maybe you just want to get in the spooky spirit. Below are links from everything to costumes ideas, food and recipe ideas, decorations, pumpkins, safety, costumes for pets and more. We hope everyone in Lexington has a safe and Happy Halloween.











Figured I would through a link in from CBS Boston:

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Why You Need a Real Estate Agent

Home buyers and sellers today have access to an array of real estate search tools from computers, iPads and even mobile phones. Quick access to market data has truly benefited the initial property search, but to ensure a smooth home purchase or sale you'll need the help of a real estate professional.

Listing a Home
When selling your home, the goal is to get the greatest amount of money in the shortest amount of time and with the least amount of inconvenience. However, according to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), a typical For-Sale-By-Owner (FSBO) home sold for $40,000 less than an agent-sold home. It all comes down to expertise.

In addition to staging your home, pricing it well, negotiating with the buyers and scheduling showings, your real estate agent will be an expert in marketing your property. Staging and professional photography are key to attracting potential buyers. Your REALTOR will also manage contract creation and ensure the entire process moves smoothly. A survey of FSBO sellers reported that understanding and performing the high volume of paperwork was the most difficult task, followed by correct pricing and home staging.

Buying a Home
Without a doubt, most home buyers search for properties online - 90 percent, according to NAR - but the actual process of buying a home is much more involved and complicated than scheduling showings.

When purchasing a property, you'll need someone who can negotiate the price, write up the necessary contract, work with the seller to push the transaction through, recommend the right home inspectors and vendors, interpret crucial mortgage data and generally manage the whole process. In a NAR survey, 40 percent of buyers reported the mortgage application and approval process to be more difficult than they expected.

Your home is your most precious financial asset. Put it in the hands of a real estate expert. I know the business, the Lexington area and have the full resources of Grant Cole Realtors so I can help you with all of your home buying or selling needs. Feel free to contact me with any questions about the market or your next steps.

Theresa D'Antuono

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Walk through Lexington

Lexington has four upcoming events that allow you to see fall in all its splendor.

Lexington Autumn Leaves
Thursday, October 17 from 2:30-4:00pm
This walk is geared for children in grades 2 – 5 accompanied by an adult. Join Karen Longeteig for a walk around the Buckman Tavern 'arboretum' to gather and identify autumn leaves and hear tree stories.
Wear boots or be prepared to have muddy shoes. The walk will take place in light drizzle, but will be cancelled if it pours.  Call walk leader if in doubt.
Meet at the Visitors Center on the Buckman Tavern grounds. Street and municipal lot parking are available.
Contact: Walk Leader: Karen Longeteig   781-862-4094

Walk Across Lexington
Sunday, October 20 from 9:30am-12:30pm
Take a walk on the second section of the new ACROSS Lexington trail system. ACROSS Lexington (Accessing Conservation land, Recreation areas, Open space, Schools and Streets in Lexington) will eventually consist of 40 miles of well marked walking, jogging and off-road biking routes connecting all of Lexington. This will be the inaugural walk on a wonderful new 4.5-mile route that will traverse several conservation areas, recreation areas and school property.
The route will consist of: Clarke Street, Lincoln Field, Bridge School, the Old Res, Marrett Road, a residential neighborhood, Clarke School, Dunback Meadow, Cotton Farm, Upper Vine Brook, Highland Avenue and back to town along the bikeway. 
This is a wonderful way to socialize on a quiet Sunday morning and meet people in Lexington that you may not know. Everyone will learn (and share) some Lexington history and interesting town facts and you'll get some excellent exercise. 
Severe inclement weather will cancel the walk. Meet at the rear of the Depot in Lexington Center.
Contact: Walk Leader: Rick Abrams   339-927-4345

Halloween Walk through the Old Burying Ground
Saturday, October 26 from 6:30-8:00pm
Start at the Depot Building and march to fifes and drums into the Old Burying Ground to meet Colonials of the past who will tell you their story. Good for children 5 and up. Advance reservations and tickets available by contacting the Historical Society. Visit their website at
Location: Lexington Depot Building. Contact: Lexington Historical Society   781-862-1703

Post Thanksgiving Holiday Walk
Saturday, November 30 from 1:00-3:00pm
Work off some of those Thanksgiving calories with CLC's First Annual Post Thanksgiving Walk. We will explore Whipple Hill and the new trail improvement structures built this past summer.
Wear sturdy hiking boots and bring a walking stick if you have one, as trails are steep. 
Heavy rain or snow cancels the walk. Meet at the Winchester Drive entrance. 
Maps of conservation lands can be found at
Contact: Walk Leader: Keith Ohmart   781-862-6216