Category: home (8)


BPT—The winter months mean celebrating the holidays, reconnecting with family and friends and planning your resolutions for the New Year. They can also mean a sharp increase to your monthly heating bill in order to stay warm and comfortable. If you’re interested in controlling your energy expenses while maintaining comfort, the tips below will help you make sure more of your money is put towards presents than power.

* Close the doors to rooms that are not in use. Most of us remember to turn off the lights in a room we’re not using but we rarely shut the door. And we end up wasting energy because of it. Don’t waste heat on rooms that aren’t in use. Instead, close those doors and allow the heat to circulate within a smaller area. Your furnace will have an easier time maintaining the temperature and you’ll notice the benefit on your energy bill.

* Invest in a heat pump. Some rooms are simply too important to keep the door closed all of the time. If it’s a child’s play area or your office, then chances are you’re looking for a way to add a little more heat. Investing in a duct-free heat pump system is the perfect solution.

* Check for cracks and gaps around windows and doors. Today’s homes are more airtight than ever before but there is still the potential for cold air to enter your home via your doors and windows. Inspect each of these openings and seal or insulate any gaps you find to prevent the loss of warm air. You should also check for cracks and gaps around the door to the attic and at any locations where outside pipes or cords enter your home.

* Cover your windows. Small cracks or gaps in your windows can create drafts and cold air hits your windows and leaves them cold to the touch, transferring those frigid temperatures inside. Prevent that cold from coming into your home by sealing your windows. This simple procedure takes only minutes and will have a dramatic effect on your heating bill. And don’t forget that heavy weight curtains can also help keep drafts out.

* Check your insulation. Many homes, especially older homes, are vulnerable to cold temperatures because they lack sufficient insulation. Insulation is commonly found in the attic but it also exists in any outer wall. If you are concerned your home may be poorly insulated, you can check the insulation levels yourself or you can hire a qualified home energy auditor who will check your insulation as part of his overall energy assessment.

The colder months are here but that doesn’t mean you have to feel it inside your own home. Prepare for winter with the tips included here and you’ll be ready to enjoy a warm and festive winter holiday season and winter.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2014. All rights reserved.

It’s no secret that home staging can play a huge role in how much you get for you house. Sometimes it feels like you have to renovate the whole place to make it presentable, but it’s not true! I know I’ve had great success with these three simple tips.

1. Get Rid of Your Clutter

The best thing you can do for your home isn’t in buying fancy new things, it’s about getting rid of some. This includes your lovely furniture.

When professional stagers prepare a home, they often get rid of nearly half of the furniture! You don’t have to be so drastic, but taking a good look at what you could live without could get you the extra money from an offer so you can but a whole new set.

2. Punch up your place with pillows!

Throw pillows are a wonderful way to add color, update a look, and hide unattractive, stained or broken furniture!  Throw a few on a bed, or add them to a couch!

IMG_0797 Another way to add color or update a piece of furniture is to use a throw! Place over a couch or chair, or end of bed!

These easy changes to your existing furniture can make big changes for little money.


3. Lighting, Lighting, Lighting

What makes the difference between a good home, and a great home? You’ve gotto be able to see it!

Lighting is a great cost-effective way to add drama and space to a room. Clean your windows to let natural light fill the area. Layer the lighting inside darker rooms. Experts say you should use at least 100 watts for every square foot of space. With a few extra bulbs you can light up the place!

For more on how to stage your house to sell contact Creative Concepts by Lisa, LLC!

Creative Concepts by Lisa, LLC
President, Lisa Antonecchia

(203) 500-3685

Follow Creative Concepts by Lisa, LLC on Facebook or Twitter @ ccblct

(*photos courtesy of Creative Concepts by Lisa, LLC)

Amy flower picSome years it seems we have more than the usual amount of rain in the summer.  Some years we can’t seem to get enough. Excess rain may give us greener lawns, however it is important to remember that the rain also ends up in the storm drainage system. Any fertilizers or pesticides people use for lawn care can wind up in the same storm drains, which eventually drain into our local waters.  Excess nutrients from fertilizers and chemicals from pesticides can cause drinking water contamination, massive algae blooms, and affect the fish population.

Here are a few tips that may help to minimize the effect that fertilizers and pesticides have on our water resources:

  • Fertilize sparingly – September is the best month to fertilize.  Use a slow time-release fertilizer that is water insoluble, or has slowly -available soluble nitrogen. 
  • Follow the directions carefully, making sure to apply no more than one to two pounds of nitrogen per 1000 square feet of lawn.
  • If using a lawn care company, ask about their environmental options. 
  • Mow the grass high and leave grass clippings on the lawn to help improve the quality of the lawn.
  • Avoid using fertilizers or pesticides near wells or within 75 ft. of a waterway.
  • Avoid applying fertilizers or pesticides when rain is predicted to help prevent the runoff into the storm drains.
  • Try to hand pick weeds when possible, or spot treat.  It is not always necessary to spray the entire lawn.
  • Sweep the sidewalk and driveway if any lawn chemicals or yard debris gets on them.  Anything on the pavement is more easily washed by storm water into the storm drains.  
  • For Green Gardening, less is better and will also save you money!

Written by Laura Iorio, REALTOR for Calcagni Associates.

Calcagni005When a buyer views a property, observations are made with all five senses, which in turn creates an emotional response.  Sellers need to be aware of the sensory responses their home may evoke from a buyer and how these responses may contribute to the perceived value of their home and ultimately how long it may take to sell.

The visual reaction to the home begins with its location, develops with the curb appeal, size and condition, and finally culminates with its overall suitability.  During the visual observation the external stimuli will translate into a sense of touch, creating internal reactions to both the home’s cleanliness and textures. Next, hearing perks up and tunes into the sounds of the area or possibly music playing in the background.  And when the sense of smell kicks into gear, both positive and negative smells may stimulate taste buds. As a rule, it’s usually better to have a home filled with a pleasing aromatic food smell rather than one that is floral in nature.  Negative smells can have an adverse effect on a buyer – something to be avoided.

If a home has some negative features that cannot be changed, always be sure to accentuate the positive ones. Create the best opportunity for a buyer to be able to picture themselves and their belongings in the home. Buyers are not going to want to pay top dollar for a home that is dirty, or overwhelmed by neglected repairs – these things will only devalue the home. 

Remember, price and value are not synonymous.  By creating an environment that is clutter free, maintained, rich with aroma, neutral and serene, the home’s first impression will culminate into a sense of well-being – which translates into value-added – and that makes great sense! 

Written by Karen Charest, REALTOR

with Calcagni Associates Real Estate.



On Saturday, May 9th, several of our agents and staff volunteered tHabitat 007heir time (and muscles!) to the first of 5 Habitat for Humanity Sleeping Giant “builds” at 40 Edgecomb Street, Hamden. The meetings for this charitable organization are held at our Calcagni Hamden office. Our hard-working, hammer-wielding crew, spent the day framing walls that will later be used on the site. For progress on the build, please visit:


Here is Part 2 in a series of quick posts I’m writing that is designed to give you ideas on how to increase your home’s value (inspired from my own experiences). Please feel free to post your comments below, with your own suggestions!

Nowadays more and more people seem to prefer to stay close to home and view their homes as a retreat, a sort of haven… If the place you call home needs a bit of TLC, or you’re looking to increase its value, there are ways to do so while staying within your budget. There are many payoffs – the obvious one being that you will enjoy living in your house, and another being that you may also maintain or increase its value, in the event you ever need to sell.


Tip #2: Kitchen

In most homes, the kitchen is one of the focal points of a home- the main gathering spot for sharing food and time together with friends & family.  Back in the fall, my sister decided that her own kitchen needed some warming up and updating. She achieved this by doing the following: Painting the walls with complementary colors, using eco-friendly material countertops to replace old ones, (over her existing cabinets), replacing her cabinet hardware with artisan cabinet pulls and handles. The final change was replacing her old appliances with ‘Energy Star’ rated ones. I love her new kitchen and really feel it has added to the overall value of her home. Not to mention the fact that she enjoys entertaining in it so much more (i.e. invites us over for dinner more often!)


For More Home Improvement Tips and Information, Visit:

Written by Camille Urbano, Relocation Coordinator, Calcagni Associates


spring-flowers-09 Today is the official first day of spring. Although the weather outside doesn’t really feel like it quite yet, we have been seeing signs of spring’s approach for weeks: Warmer days here and there, birds chirping, people taking walks outdoors, longer days – I love being done with my work day while it’s still light out! All these signs of spring seem to be having amazing effects on people’s moods, and their motivation to get outdoors, begin exercising more, plan for the warmer days to come. ..This past weekend I was visiting a friend at her home in Northford, and noticed some of the flowers in her yard beginning to poke their way out of the ground… I couldn’t resist snapping the above photo.

Happy Spring everyone!

Written by Camille Urbano, Relocation Coordinator, Calcagni Associates

property-searchEarlier this month I had a real estate counseling session with a young couple looking to purchase their first home and the term PITI came up in our conversation. We’ve all grown accustomed to asking our buyers to speak directly with a lender first to get “pre-qualified” for a mortgage and we’ve gotten away from having to explain this acronym, which stands for principal, interest, taxes and insurance. (PITI)  Too often borrowers are convinced that they can afford a home based solely on principal and interest, but in reality, the true and correct cost of owning a home incorporates both of these things plus monthly property tax and monthly home hazard insurance payment.  It’s important that our buyers understand this reality. Adjusting their expectations about the payment they can afford makes for a more realistic home search in a price range that is comfortable and much happier buyers!

Written by Mary L. Malin, ABR, CRS, GRI, REALTOR Calcagni Associates