Archive for the ‘family’ Category

Add Value to Your Home with Spring Cleaning

It may be surprising, but a clean and decluttered home can have a huge impact on a potential buyer’s impression of the home and help them envision it as their own. In addition, a clean home improves your mood and helps you feel more productive.

Clean Up the Yard

You never get a second chance to make a great first impression, so make the most of your home’s first impression by cleaning up the yard.

  1. Clear away fall and winter debris such as fallen branches and leaves; pick up and put away toys and other items that are not lawn ornaments.
  2. Be sure that all walkways are clear and easy to navigate along.
    • If you have broken or misaligned steps, consider hiring a professional to fix them.
  3. Clean the gutters, or hire a professional the clean them; when gutters are clogged, they can overflow and cause water damage to the exterior of your home. If they overflow into a window, the water damage can extend into the interior, as well.
  4. Treat your lawn to a spa day: feed it, weed it, give it moss treatment, and mow it on a dry day. When you know it’s going to rain, or shortly after rain, apply fertilizers for best results.

Clean Up the Exterior Walls of the House

Over the course of a year, a lot of dirt, muck, and grit can collect on the exterior walls of a home—not to mention moss, mold, and mildew growth along brick walls.

  1. On a warm, dry day, wash away the dirt on the exterior walls of your home. Take care not to damage any surfaces, let water get underneath the siding, or dislodge any bricks.
  2. If it looks like there is water damage on the outside of your home, call a professional.
  3. Take the chance to clean the outside of your windows as well, and check for any damage to them. Cracked panes should be replaced and peeling windowsills should be tended to, as well.
    • Peeling windowsills are a great opportunity (after removing the old paint) to repaint them with a refreshing new color. Not sure what color to pick? Our Painting Joy Into Your Home: How Colors Influence Your Mood blog post can give you an idea on what might be the best color, depending on what effect you want to achieve.
    • Once you’re back inside, wipe the inside of the windows down and clear away any cobwebs.

Clean Up the Garden

If you have a garden with clearly defined borders, be sure to freshen those borders up. In addition, give your garden some attention and care:

  1. Fork the soil around plants to introduce fresh air and reveal any pests or weeds
  2. Remove weeds and other unwanted plants
  3. Add mulch to control additional weeds or refresh existing mulch
  4. Check to see if any bricks or stones have become misaligned and realign them
  5. To help your plants grow and add nutrients to the soil, add compost or other organic matter

If you don’t have a garden but would like to increase the curb appeal of your home by adding some plants, try adding flower pots or hanging plants outside!

  1. Check that the flowers and plants won’t be at risk of dying from a last frost before adding the pots or hanging plants outdoors.
  2. If you want to grow the plants from seeds, consider starting them indoors to avoid losing them to hungry birds or animals before they’ve had the chance to sprout. Otherwise, pick potted flowers and plants you like from your local garden center.
  3. Arrange the potted flowers and hanging plants how you like: on your front porch, flanking your front door, along your walkway, or even in your back garden. The options are endless!

Last but not least, if you have a fence, inspect it for any damage.

  1. Ensure that all gates are properly attached and that locks function smoothly.
  2. Fill in any holes animals may have dug underneath the fence. If you have a dog that keeps digging a hole to escape, bury a toy, or pursuing some other destructive behavior, you may want to check with your local dog academy to see whether training can correct the behavior.
  3. Check for loose boards, rusted wires, damaged bricks or stones, etc. and repair the fence accordingly. If you don’t know how to maintain your fence and find that a section has decayed, call a professional.
  4. If you want to give your yard a fresh look, consider painting your fence a new color, adding flowers along the boundaries, or adding climbing plants to transform your fence into a garden wonderland. Check with your local garden center first on which climbing plants would be best.
    • Beware: climbing plants require a certain amount of maintenance and care to keep them from becoming unruly and overtaking your yard. If they attach to a tree, they can cause serious damage.

Relax! April is Stress Awareness Month

Believe it or not, the average stress level of Americans has dropped since 2007, according to the American Psychological Association (APA). But, we here at Howard Hanna Insurance Services understand if you don’t exactly feel that way. It’s a good thing, then, that Stress Awareness Month is here.

Reducing your stress is well worth your while. If you don’t know where to start, tese tips from the Mayo Clinic and WebMD will get you headed in the right direction:

Make stress management a goal. Simply saying, “I want to reduce stress” isn’t enough. You’ve got to learn to identify problems and implement solutions, which takes work.

Identify your triggers. What situations cause you to experience stress? Work? Relationships? Money? Don’t overlook everyday tasks, such as commuting, or even positive events, such as starting a new job.

Consider strategies to deal with those specific triggers. For example, creating a budget plan or talking to a financial adviser could help ease your worries about finances. Changing your hours at work could potentially improve your commute.

Practice relaxation techniques and live a healthy lifestyle. Here are just a few tools that people use to help alleviate stress:

Deep breathing, yoga or tai chi
Meditation and guided imagery — imagining yourself in a place of relaxation
Writing or talking to someone about your feelings
Exercise (even simple stretching or housework) and outdoor recreation

Art and other creative projects
Ask for help. Many people you know have probably experienced similar stresses to your own. Find out how they have solved problems and relieved stress. And, if they are still having trouble, you can work on managing issues together.

April is a great time to try to reduce stress and live a healthier life. So, what are you waiting for? Remember, when you make stress management a bigger part of your life, you leave less room for the stress itself.

Greens for the Winter Blues: Part Two

In our previous blog, Greens for the Winter Blues, we suggested some great plants to add to your indoor décor and help combat the winter blues! However, greenery doesn’t have to be limited to the inside of your home. In our Part Two blog about winter plants, we decided to take the fun outdoors! Here are some awesome outdoor plants that are perfect for winter weather!

Cabbages and Kales

Ornamental cabbage and kale plants are a popular choice for winter annual plants, as they can survive cold winters once hardened by cooler night temperatures. The chunky leaves come in many shades ranging from pink, purple and green to white.


Camellias flower in both the fall and winter and come in shades of red, pink, coral, white, and bicolor. They prefer highly organic soil that is acidic and moist. The flowers are surrounded by waxy leaves and the colors linger for a long time. Once the plant is established, camellias are tolerant of droughts. The plant is evergreen and can form into shrubs or small trees.


This fast-growing plant is packed with powerful colors. Cotoneaster has leaves in bold greens and a bright red winter berry favored by birds. In the summer, this plant also blooms with delicate, white flowers. Cotoneaster is a perfect plant for groundcover but needs upkeep so it does not become unmanageable.


Hellebore, or also known as the Christmas rose, is a popular winter flower due to its ability to bloom even in the darkest of months. The rose-like flowers bloom in shades of pink, red, maroon, chartreuse, and white. Look for these plants in early winter for warmer climates and late winter for colder climates.

Holly Bush

When you think of winter, you think of holly. The signature plant is easily spotted with dark green, pointed leaves and clusters of bright red berries. Holly bushes take well to pruning, so feel free to clip off some to spread around the house! The berries can be toxic to both humans and certain animals, so keep them away from children and pets.

Sweet Alyssum

This dainty flowering plant is perfect for winter in temperate climates. Sweet alyssum can take a light frost and will bloom year-round. The rounded petals of the flower bloom in colors of white, pink, rose-red, violet, and lilac. The more darkly colored the flower is, the better it does in cooler temperatures! Sweet alyssum grows close to the ground.

Winter Jasmine

Native to China, winter jasmine flowers from November to March in the Northern Hemisphere. The flower has six petals that are either white or bright yellow in color. Winter jasmine is great for ground cover and will also grow on walls.

Witch Hazel

While the name reminds you of fall and Halloween, witch hazel is a winter plant! The bright, spidery flower blooms in shades of yellow or orange, offering a bright contrast to the bleak winter weather. The plant is hardy and emits a sweet fragrance reminiscent of spring.

Colorful outdoor greenery during winter sounds like a far-fetched dream, but with planning and care, you, too, can have a bright winter wonderland!

The House Hunter’s Guide To


The weather is warming up and the housing market is booming! If you are in the search for a home chances are your weekends and evenings are jam packed with showings and open houses. Starting your search for a home online is a great and efficient way to begin your home search. Here are 6 tips to keep in mind when beginning your home search on

Stay focused and use the ‘More Search Options’.  With thousands of listings on it can become quite overwhelming. Make sure to narrow down your search right off the bat by choosing the region, county, area and ideal price range. This will automatically eliminate the majority of properties that are not for you. If a specific school district is one of your top priorities, make sure to check that as well. This will narrow your focus.

showacseofhomes.PNGWatch an episode of The Showcase of Homes. What better way to search for a home then in your pj’s with a cup of coffee on a Sunday morning? Take advantage of The Showcase of Homes that airs on Sunday’s at 11am on 13Wham. If you happen to miss a show they are readily available to view right on! Follow the link to view our most recent show.

Narrow your search but always keep an open mind. Although it is very helpful to be specific when searching online sometimes being too specific may cause you to overlook a home that may be ‘the one’. Try to alter your price range a little higher and lower than your ideal range. This will cover the grey area for homes that may need a little extra TLC or a small price drop to meet your criteria.

MyNothnagleStart a list of potential properties-Register for MyNothnagle. With the overwhelming number of homes you will browse by it can be very easy to forget about a property that you wish you could remember. Take advantage of the MyNothnagle. This is a free service that will allow you to save searches, rate listings, stay in contact with your agent and manage your search more efficiently.

Can’t wait to see the house? Text-To-Video!  Sometimes just browsing through the
MobileNothnagle2.PNG photos isn’t quite enough. This is why Nothnagle offers Text to Video. At the bottom of each listing on there will be a PC code to text to VIDEOS (843367). By simply texting the PC code a video link will be sent right to your smartphone. This will allow you to take a tour of the property just as if you are inside. This feature is sure to hold you over until your agent can arrange a showing!

Keep your agent in the loop the entire time. As you begin to narrow your search and find some great contenders, make sure to communicate this with your agent. Also keep an open mind if they want to show you a house that is not on your ‘list’. Your agent knows the market best and a home that may not be your #1 pick may be worth looking at. Communication is the key to a successful home search so do not hesitate to ask questions. After all that is what they are here for!

Don’t wait any longer, start your home search on today! Happy house hunting!

Nothnagle REALTORS® Donates to Local Summer Meal Programs for Kids

Nothnagle REALTORS® Donates to Local Summer Meal Programs for Kids


On April 14, 2016, Nothnagle REALTORS® held their first bowling tournament at three locations throughout the Rochester area. The bowling tournaments were held at Livingston Lanes, AMF Gates Lanes, and AMF Empire Lanes.

The tournament was put on by the Nothnagle Networking Committee with the goal to bring agents, employees and staff together to have fun as well as raise money for a good cause. Fifty teams and over 180 people participated in the tournament.

Nothnagle is pleased to announce that the proceeds raised from the event will be donated to The City of Rochester Summer Meals for Kids, and the Foodlink Summer Meals Program in both Monroe and Livingston County. Each of which are local programs that work to provide meals to children in need during the summer months. Nearly $3,000 was raised for these programs from the proceeds of the tournament.

A sincere thank you is due to all participants in the Nothnagle Bowling Tournament, as well as the following sponsors for making the event possible:

Premium Mortgage Corporation

Dollinger Associates

Nothnagle Home Securities

Spring Cleaning


The doldrums of winter have nearly passed, and straight ahead lurks the chaos of spring real estate. What passed for clean back in January simply won’t work as open house season approaches, so let’s take a closer look at the dusty corners, the filthy hardwood, and the tumbleweeds of discarded pet hair.


Less Stuff

If your spring cleaning is also in preparation of putting your home on the market, a storage unit might be in store. As HGTV points out, decluttering to show off the house often means just getting your stuff out of there. If you’ve decided you can finally part with some of that stuff, though, you could become one of the estimated 165,000 people who host a garage sale every week.

Exteriors Matter

You might be used to that old fence never quite closing, or maybe you’re still in winter mindset and have been ignoring those filthy gutters and streaked windows. When staging your house, though, the outside is the first thing a prospective buyer sees, and it’s important that it strikes a good first impression.

In addition to giving the yard a good mowing, the mailbox is an oft-ignored landmark of the front yard. When buyers pull up to an open house, a decrepit and pitiful mailbox is not what they want to see.

On that same note, make sure that your address numbers are clean and visible. No one wants to feel like they’re heading into a squatter’s home during an open house. A new welcome mat never hurt, either.

Elbow Grease

Inside, everything must find a home. Open up those windows to let in some fresh air, hunt down offending odors, and be sure to clean even things that may not look dirty such as drapes, curtains, and hardwood floors. In some cases, you may have forgotten just how pristine and shiny they can look.

Dust the spots that are hard to reach, even if they’re out of sight. Sometimes you can just feel that a place is dusty, even if you can’t quite spot the dust, and a feeling of dustiness is certainly not a quality you want in your open house. Don’t be afraid to wipe down the walls, too; you never know what kinds of mess they’ve been hanging on to.

The biggest challenge of a deep-clean is normally the bathroom. Be sure to let stubborn grime soak before really scrubbing it, and don’t ignore the dirt-trapping qualities of grout.


Just because it’s clean doesn’t mean it’s ready to woo homebuyers. Take care to remove your personality from the house as much as possible without making it look like an empty tomb. Re-arrange furniture so as to make the rooms appear bigger. Clutter is the enemy here, and making decorations accentuate the space rather than detract from it is the name of the game.

Some Changes

Okay, you got everything clean. It looks better than it’s ever looked, and while you’re cracking jokes about maybe we’ll just stay after all, you start to think that things could use an update in addition to being really, really clean.

Chances are that, if you have a home built sometime between 1950 and 1990, you’re still sporting popcorn ceilings. A housing feature that’s thankfully gone the way of the dinosaurs, modern homebuyers tend to avoid its dated appearance. Though doing anything to your ceiling can quickly turn into a home makeover nightmare, you’ll be glad in the end that you took the time – especially if it locks in those buyers.

A new coat of paint, be it to finally cover up the hideous purple of the guest bedroom or to brighten up a claustrophobic bathroom, always does wonders to transform a space. Neutral colors give the greatest mileage here and are the least likely to make homebuyers turn their noses up in disgust.

A Starting Point

It’s a start, but if your ultimate goal is to sell your home, you may still have a long road ahead of you. Look on the bright side, though – at least the weather’s finally warming up! For a more intensive itinerary to follow, look no further than Oprah. Happy cleaning!

Have any cleaning tips you’d like to share? Leave a comment below!


Exterior Home Maintenance Tips for Spring


Breaking all time high temperatures yesterday in Rochester NY is a sure tell sign that Spring is here and it is here to stay! The next few weeks are the crucial time to get your home ready for Spring. Tackling any repairs, or damage now will save you lots of time this coming Spring and Summer. Here is a checklist for the main target areas around the exterior of your home. For each target area we have a Nothnagle Home Services vendor that can help you take care of any problems you may encounter!

  • Did you have time to clean your gutters before winter hit or has it been a year since you took a peek up there? Make sure your gutters are free of debris and damage. Improper drainage can lead to water damage in various areas of your home.

Penfield Window Cleaning specializes in gutter cleaning, power washing, and window cleaning.

  • Examine the Exterior of your chimney for signs of damage. Have your flue cleaned and inspected.

Mi-Kar Construction, INC specializes in chimney cleaning, inspection, and repair.

  • Have a qualified heating and cooling contractor clean and service the outside air-conditioning unit. Making sure everything is working well and ready for the first use. If you wait until the first heat to check your unit out chances may be if something goes wrong, you will be stuck waiting in a long line for a repair man.

Visit for a full list of HVAC vendors available through our program.

  • Check your yard for any low areas. These areas around your foundation should be filled in. Spring rain may cause flooding in and around your yard, which can lead to water damage in your home.

Visit for a full list of lawn & landscaping businesses.

  • Take the time to examine your roof closely for any shingles lost during the winter. The summer heat can really damage roof shingles. If you have an older roof, now may be the time to start a budget for a new roof.

Nothnagle Home Services has a number of trusted vendors that specialize in Roof repair and installation, View the list here

  • The winter weather can do quite a bit of damage to a wooden deck. Power wash your deck to prepare it for a re-paint or re-stain. Doing so in the spring is much more enjoyable then waiting until the summer to do so under the hot sun.

There are a number of Home Services vendors that specialize in deck cleaning/staining and repair. Check them out here

  • Inspect the exterior of your home for any damage to the siding. The winter can damage siding very easily with the high winds, rain and snow. Make sure to tackle any repairs if needed as soon as possible.

For a list of siding installation and repair options visit the Nothnagle Home Services website here

Spring is only 8 days away, it has crept up on us fast! Being prepared with a list of to-do’s is the best thing you can do for yourself to prepare for a relaxing summer ahead!

Visit the Nothnagle Home Services page for a full list of vendors and services offered for both outside and inside your home.