Peter Beauchemin - LAER Realty Partners/Beauchemin & Assoc.



Posted by Peter Beauchemin on 5/21/2017

In an age of endless distractions, it can be hard to keep ourselves (and our families) accountable when it comes to doing chores and keeping the house clean. However, the digital age has also brought us an endless number of tools to fight the urge of being lazy and scrolling through our Instagram feeds for hours at a time. In the iPhone app store there are hundreds of productivity apps designed to help you accomplish things throughout the day. The realm of cleaning and chores is no exception. Browsing through those apps, however, can be just as daunting as the chores they're helping us do. So, we've built a list of the top eight most useful iPhone apps for cleaning and chores around the house. (Many of these apps are also available on Android as well.)

1. Chorma

Do you have a full house but it seems like you're the only one doing household chores? Chorma will help you change that. It's designed for family, couples, roommates, and anyone else who is in need of dividing up chores. You'll be able to sync between devices and earn rewards as you complete chores. This incentivizes cleaning (if having a clean house just isn't that big of a deal to you).

2. Tody

I have no problem doing chores. I just always do them days too late. If that sounds like you, then Tody is for you. This app allows you to set the frequency that certain chores need to be completed. There will be small reminders in the app letting you know if and how many days you are overdue for cleaning the toilet. This really adds on the guilt factor if you're the type who needs a bit of extra persuasion to get some cleaning done.

3.  Unfilth Your Habitat

Calling your cleaning tasks "chores" can sometimes make you feel a bit childish when trying to get some cleaning done. Unfilth Your Habitat is definitely not for kids. This is made obvious by the name of the app, which has been censored here to read un"filth" rather than the other "f" word. This app will motivate you with guilt and shame, but will reward you for completing your tasks.

4.  EpicWin

If you like playing video games, specifically role playing games (RPGs), EpicWin is the productivity app for you. The app is an RPG/to-do list where your epic adventures are your chores.

5. BrightNest

BrightNest is the all-inclusive homemaking app. It has cleaning tips, home decor advice, and a personal schedule for helping you spruce up your house.

6. SimplyUs

SimplyUs is the app for busy couples that helps them stay productive together. The app lets you share your calendars (Google, Yahoo, etc.), to do lists, and more.

7. Sortly

If you plan on moving in the near future or if you're a collector of any kind, Sortly will help you catalogue and keep track of your entire home inventory. It helps you print labels for moving boxes, tells you how many boxes you need, and much more.

8. The Fridge App

The Fridge app is an electronic version of the sticky notes you would put in your home for your family. It can sync between your whole family and will give them updates on any new posts or changes that are made.





Posted by Peter Beauchemin on 5/14/2017

Choosing the right lighting for your home not only enhances it visually, but can also make it a safer and more secure place to live.

While an interior decorator or electrician can offer you additional suggestions about upgrading your home's lighting efficiency and appearance, here are a few helpful lighting tips and ideas to consider.

  • Dimmer switches can be a highly desirable feature to include in most rooms in your house. You only use them on an as-needed basis, and they're great for reducing eye strain, creating a more relaxing environment, and conserving electricity. Although dimmer switches are relatively easy to install, hiring a reasonably priced electrician is good insurance against getting an electrical shock or doing it incorrectly.
  • Flood lights strategically placed in different areas of your property can help keep away trespassers, burglars, and vandals. Motion-activated security lights are especially effective at deterring crime and sending intruders on their way. While lighting alone does not comprise a fail-proof home security system, it is one of several methods that, when used together, can keep your home, property, and family safe.
  • Adequate outside lighting helps prevent family members and visitors from falling, tripping, and getting injured on your property when approaching your home at night. This is especially important for those who are elderly or vision impaired.
  • Outdoor lighting can also be effectively used for decorative purposes on porches, patios, backyard decks, and walkways.
Light Bulb Facts

If you're wondering why old-fashioned incandescent light bulbs are becoming harder to find on store shelves, it's because of two things:

  1. The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007: It was enacted to for several reasons, including eliminating wasteful energy products from the market, helping the United States become more energy independent, and reducing harmful emissions from coal-fired power plants. Although some consumers prefer the old-fashioned incandescent light bulb, it's interesting to know that they're only 10% efficient. What that means, says the EPA, is that 90% of the electricity it uses is lost to heat.
  2. Consumers want to save money on energy consumption. Here's what the EPA says on the subject: "Because lighting accounts for approximately 12% of the average household’s energy bill, more efficient options will help consumers save money on their utility bills."
Those more efficient options include compact fluorescent lights (CFL), light emitting diode bulbs (LED), and halogen bulbs. Although energy efficient lights can be somewhat more expensive initially, they last longer and typically use about 25%-80% less energy than traditional incandescent light bulbs. That's the word from the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. Based on figures from the EPA, consumers can also save money by using Energy Star-qualified LED bulbs, which use at least 75 percent less energy and last 15 times longer than incandescent bulbs.

With its economical features and versatile uses in and around the house, there are a lot of benefits to be had from choosing the right lighting.




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Posted by Peter Beauchemin on 5/7/2017

If you're a dog owner you know well that caring for a dog is like caring for a small child who stays a small child for their entire life. They're a lot of work, but dogs are a part of the family and anyone lucky enough to have a canine companion will tell you that they're more than worth the trouble. One difficulty many dog owners face is burn spots on their lawns. Most people assume that dogs are going to kill their grass one way or another and it's useless to try to prevent it. However, with some diligence and training you can prevent dead spots from taking over your lawn.

What is lawn burn?

Dog urine is very high in nitrogen. While a little bit of nitrogen is healthy for your soil and your grass, too much makes the soil extremely acidic which kills your lawn causing "burn" spots. If you've ever gardened before you might be familiar with the concept of soil's pH number. A pH number describes how acidic (0-6) or how basic (7-14) a substance is. Different types of plant life require different levels of acidity on the pH scale. When you buy fertilizer or plant food at the garden shop you're really buying a mixture of chemicals that alter your soil's pH. The ideal pH for growing healthy grass is 6.5-7, roughly midway on the pH scale.

What can be done?

Ok, so now you know the science behind why your dog doing his business kills your lawn. But what can you do about it? There are a number of different techniques that have been proven to be effective at mitigating or eliminating the damage caused by lawn burn.
  • Training. The most effective methods of preventing lawn burn is through proper training of your dog. Find a part of your yard that you ideally want to train your dog to do their business in. This part can be dirt, rocks, or an out of sight patch of lawn that you don't mind taking some damage. Lead them over to this area when it's time for them to go out and give them treats and verbal praise when they do their business in that area. If they start to urinate in another area, correct them by calling them over to the area they should be in. Don't punish them, as this will confuse dogs and they might not feel safe urinating outside at all.
  • Water down. An effective method of preventing burn spots is to simply saturate the area where the dog urinated with water immediately afterward. This will dilute the nitrogen from the urine and limit damage.
  • Healthy nutrition. Dog food is sometimes very high in protein which increases nitrogen in their urine. Pick a food that has healthy amounts of protein in it. Similarly, dehydrated dogs will have urine with a higher nitrogen level. Encourage your dog to drink plenty of water.

Myths about lawn burn

Many myths about dog-related lawn burn have appeared over the years. Some people argue that female dogs' urine burns a lawn more than males. This is untrue. If a female dog's urine does burn the lawn more it is simply because female dogs have a tendency to stay in one place while doing their business. Other myths include the usefulness of feeding your dog supplements to eliminate spots or that certain dog breeds have more acidic urine and cause more spotting. These are also misconceptions. The best options are to work together with your dog and make sure they are well-fed and hydrated. Soon your lawn will regrow to its former glory.




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Posted by Peter Beauchemin on 4/30/2017

Build a home gym and you could keep your physical fitness regimen on track. Depending on the size of your yard, you could also extend your home gym to outdoor areas, allowing you to absorb natural sunlight and vitamin D while you work out at home. For example, you could jump rope or lift dead weights outdoors. If you have a finished basement, consider using that space to install your home gym. Instead of carpeted floors, consider going with tile. Treadmills and other heavy exercise equipment can grind tears into carpet over time. Following are types of equipment and accessories that could help you get an energetic workout right at home: Wall mirrors – There’s nothing like watching the results of your hard work pay off. Wall mirrors also help you to see where you need to make adjustments. You might think that you’re lifting manual weights for optimum results when, in fact, you’re curling your back or not getting a full arm extension when working with dead weights. Floor mats – Department stores sell floor mats for $20 or less. You can do yoga exercises, as well as warm up and cool down exercises on floor mats. Dead weights – Start with dumb bells and work your way up if you’ve never worked with weights before. Some dumb bells go up to 100 pounds. Sports stores and department stores sell weight bars and plates that you can also work out with. Leave enough room in your basement to lift and lower weights without bumping into doors, walls or other equipment. Treadmills – Price compare treadmills before you buy them. More expensive treadmills come with televisions and DVD players. Some treadmills may also have computer plugins. Because you’re already at home, consider foregoing these options to save on costs. Exercise bike – Working out on an exercise bike takes pressure off of your joints and limbs. For optimum cardiovascular and muscle building results, set your exercise bike to recline and increase the tension. Choose an exercise bike that comes with built in measurements like heart rate and calories burned and you can monitor your results in real time. Rowing machine – A rowing machine gives your arms, legs, lungs and heart a good workout. Similar to a home gym exercise bike, a rowing machine can help you stay fit without putting a lot of pressure on your joints. Balance balls – These balls come in different sizes and colors. They are great for stretching, coordination and balance. Boxing bag – Boxing isn’t just for the pros. You can use a boxing bag to kick or hand box, improving your coordination, balance, flexibility and strength. Add a home gym at your residence and you could save $10 or more a month in gym membership dues, not to mention the money that you’ll save on commuting costs. A home gym also puts exercise equipment like treadmills, weights, exercise balls and bikes within a moments reach. You could wave good-bye to the days when you didn’t exercise because you got off work after the gym closed or because you had to start work before the gym opened. As with any exercise regimen, consult with your physician before you start working out.




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Posted by Peter Beauchemin on 4/23/2017

You may see homes listed as in a search for a home that are denoted as a “Homepath property.” You may wonder what this means and if you’re even eligible to buy the property. It is a specialized program, so you’ll want to be informed on what it means to use it and what the process is. 


Fannie Mae Programs


What was formerly known as a Homepath property is now known as The Home Ready Mortgage by Fannie Mae. With the Homepath program, people are able to find and purchase homes with a bit more ease and less financial risk. If you’re buying your first home, this could be the perfect way to get it. This program offers a list of foreclosed properties with really good deals on them. Repeat buyers can also find some great deals through this program, so it has something for everyone. It has so many benefits for anyone who is looking to buy a home.     



How To Get A Homepath Property


Fanie Mae does require that you place a bid through a realtor. The program is designed for buyers to better understand the risks with buying foreclosed homes, while giving them a better opportunity to purchase a foreclosed home. Since foreclosed homes are sold as-is, there’s a risk that the home actually has some serious damage that needs to be repaired at a high cost. This is where a realtor comes in, as they can help buyers to understand ho much work a property may need and the exact risks involved.  


Low Down Payment


  Even if a home through the Homepath program requires extensive repairs, it’s not an opportunity that you should should shoot down right away. Unlike traditional mortgages where you’ll typically need 20% down to purchase, Fannie Mae only requires that buyers place as little as 3% down. This means that with the low cost of the available homes and the small down payment required, buyers can save thousands of dollars in total. Of course, this savings can help buyers to make the required repairs to the home. 


Eligibility Requirements


There’s not many stringent requirements to be eligible to buy a Homepath property. Most people actually can be found to be eligible for these purchases. The biggest requirement is that before buyers reach the closing table, they’ll need to take an education course. This allows buyers to get assistance with the closing costs.  


Learn More About Homepath


If you’re looking to buy a home at a low cost, you should definitely talk to your realtor about the Homepath program. They can also explain more about specific eligibility requirements. It’s easy to make use of this program, so start saving right now and search for a Homepath property.




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