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      Why Your Mind Should Be In the Gutter.


      Gutters. The Quiet Workhorse... or Ruinous Villain.

      Hard to believe that some bent aluminum can help retain and protect the value of your home. Second only to your roof, it is a critical component in keeping water away from, and out of, your home. 

      The basic role of gutters is to channel water off your roof and away from your home. Away from your fascia boards, siding and your foundation. Neglect your gutter system and you run the very serious risk of water rot undermining your roofing, trim and siding... water entering your basement/foundation which could result in mold... pest problems and possible development of ice dams in winter.  

      Issues that Cause Gutter Problems

      1. Debris (leaves, twigs etc) clogging gutters and downspouts.

      2. Improper gutter pitch (the angle of the gutters... directs water to the downspouts).

      3. Insufficient clearance between gutter and roofing material (the "gap for water to flow from the roofing shingles into the gutter... can be compromised by multiple layers of roofing/shingles).

      4. Leaky/split seams (bad original joint or shifting of material).

      5. Poor downspout drainage (clog in downspout/gutter joint, or obstruction in downspout exit or underground plumbing)

      6. Misshapen gutters (usually from placing a ladder directly against gutters while cleaning).

      Suggestions for "Better Gutter Health"

      1. Keep your gutters and downspouts clear. Clean them, or have them cleaned, at least twice a year. Flush all gutters, downspouts and plumbing when gutters are cleaned.

      2. Check the pitch of your gutters during a heavy rainstorm. If your gutters are clear and you see water "falling" over a spot or pooling at a non downspout end... you may have a pitch problem. Hire someone to assess and address.

      3. If you have multiple roofing layers and the "gap" between roofing shingles and gutters is compromised you should have a professional reset your gutters. Consider moving to oversized gutters if/when you replace your roof (one of the best moves you can make).

      4. If you have split seam or cracks, use a sealant from the hardware or home improvement store to address the cracks. Find one made specifically for gutters to minimize roughness inside the gutter... or have the seams professionally sealed.

      5. Flush downspouts and underground plumping. If clogged, use a snake to clear the obstructions. Use baskets at the top of the downspouts, in the gutter, to prevent debris from entering the downspout and underground plumbing.

      6. Never place your ladder against the gutter. Use ladder extensions that hold the ladder off the siding or the roof. It will save your gutters as well as provide you with a more stable work platform.

      And, lastly, if you venture out to inspect or work on your gutters, versus hiring a professional... always have a spotter on the ground, ideally holding the ladder, keep two feet on the ladder... and never reach beyond the distance you are comfortable... easier and safer to move the ladder. Also, look for bee/hornet nests ... hit any nests with spray at dusk, the evening before.

      I'm available to help you with your Real Estate buying and selling needs in Ridgefield, Redding, Wilton, Weston and Stamford, CT.






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        The Most Important Appliance In Your Home.



        It can't make Cappuccino. It doesn't warm your towels. It's incapable of keeping your wine chilled to the proper temperature... and no, it doesn't make a killer Margarita.

        It does make your home healthier and it has the potential to save you thousands of dollars when you decide to sell your home. The even better news, it costs only a few hundred dollars to buy... and a few dollars a month to operate.

        How do you know if you need one? Simple, if you live in a location where it rains or snows, you need one.

        It's the dehumidifier. Not the sexiest of appliances, but one you should not be without.

        The recommended humidity for a home is 35-55%. Most homes, unless you live in an arid climate, wander north of these recommendations over certain times of the year. Factors including rainfall, snowmelt, poor drainage, high water table, leaky foundations, restricted air movement around the exterior of the home, and below grade rooms... all contribute to potentially higher than healthy indoor humidity.

        A good first step is to invest in a hygrometer to determine, and then monitor, the humidity level throughout your home. Once you identify the areas that would benefit from reduced moisture you can then build your plan to manage your in-home humidity. Hygrometers are built into most small digital thermometers that you can pick up at your local hardware store for less than $20. 

        Every day things such as heat and air conditioning can work to help address the humidity in your home. However the best way is to deploy a dehumidifier, especially in basements or below grade spaces. Dehumidifiers move air across a cold surface causing the moisture in the air to condense. This moisture is then disposed of either in a receptical integrated into the unit, or via an externally attached hose that drains into a sink or other drain. If you go the integrated receptical route, expect to empty the bucket regularly.

        Signs that indicate that you could probably benefit from a dehumidifer:

        1. Condensation on windows and glass doors.

        2. Visible mold/mildew on sheetrock, ceilings or walls.

        3. Musty odor. 

        Moisture and mold are two of the biggest non structural issues come pre-sale inspection time. Mold remediation is costly and scares away some buyers. 

        Do some research to identify the right dehumidifier for your needs and space. Always buy bigger than you need. The additional cost will be minimal, and the unit won't work as hard to maintain the right level of humidity.

        I'm available to help you with your Real Estate buying and selling needs in Ridgefield, Redding, Wilton, Weston and Stamford, Connecticut.  







          1. Jules on

            I read this here too - http://agrestirealty.com/key-appliance-in-your-hoboken-brownstone/ Did you sell this article

            Back to the Future... The Role and Value of a Realtor, Today.



            It's a different world... in so many ways. Some good, some less good.

            In Real Estate, the model has dramatically changed. The days of walking through a few homes after leisurely viewing tiny photos in a book/binder (probably with a friend who has their Real Estate license), completing a simple mortgage application (probably at your local bank), completing a home inspection (and quite probably overlooking, or deeming unimportant, many things that would kill a deal today), securing your attorney, and eventually attending your closing... signing a few papers and then popping a bottle.

            Digital tools, social media, mobile, location based tools, drone video, 3D walk throughs and other digital BSOs (bright shiny objects) allow lenders to bid and compete for your business, allow sellers to assess their market, allow buyers to search and view properties anywhere in the world, from anywhere in the world... while potentially, securing a mortgage on their phone.

            So then, why do you need a Realtor?

            If you intimately know the market that you are looking to buy or sell in, including having in-depth knowledge of every home that has been listed or sold in those markets (note: powerlines rarely show up in listing pictures, nor do wind patterns showing the relationship of a home to the cute farm upwind... oh, and local & regional airports and their takeoff and landing restrictions... etc etc etc), if you have a short list of qualified inspectors that are right for your particular home (antique, contemporary, waterfront, post & beam etc), if you have list of trusted mortgage brokers that are right for your particular situation (self employed, foreign assets, alternative income sources etc etc etc), if you can be local and in-market on an as-needed basis to traffic paperwork or sit in the records department of town hall, if you have taken hundreds of hours of training courses in comparative pricing, property valuation, financing, property conveyance, and negotiating, and if you have the patience of a saint, are willing to miss family functions, work from vacation and be on call 24/7... then you probably don't need a Realtor.

            If you question your skills and abilities in any of the above... then I can guarantee, you will benefit from working with the right Realtor. One who understands the digital tools that are available to help both of you save time. One who is able to educate you on properties that you may have found on your own, on your time (because they have actually been in that house). One who has the relationships to get the right inspector for the house to show up when you are available (yes, nights and weekends sometimes). One who has relationships with mortgage brokers and/or lenders who have the real ability to come through for you... and most importantly, a Realtor and partner who you trust to carry you through the sometimes difficult, stressful and trying times of negotiating your transaction... either as a buyer or seller.

            So again, some things have changed (digital tools and access to information)... and some haven't (knowledge, relationships and trust). Note: Information and knowledge are two different things.

            I'm available to help you personally with your Real Estate needs in Ridgefield, Redding, Wilton, Weston and Stamford, Connecticut... and am happy to connect you with trusted associates in other markets.     


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              Pre Inspection. Knowledge is Power... and Money.

              So you are selling your home and you have received an offer, gone back and forth and have agreed on a price. Congratulations. However, unless your buyer has agreed to waive inspections or agreed to no inspection contingencies, you have only just completed Phase I of "negotiating the price". Inspection issues are one of the biggest, if not the biggest, reason why deals fall apart. They reveal a history of the care and maintenance of the home... and reveal current, or potentially future issues and financial liability.

              A great course of action, to keep your offer whole as a seller, is to hire a home inspector to execute a pre-inspection... before you list. Many home inspectors offer a "lite" version of their thorough inspection, for a fraction of their full inspection rate. They will point out relatively simple things that you can do to reduce the number of items called out when your potentional buyer does their full inspection and creates their list of items to come back at you with to whittle down their offer. You can then take care of these things, prior to listing and keep more of that accepted offer in your pocket.

              Some small things a seller can do to show that they care, and have cared for their home (these have come up in recent buyers inspections that I have attended, and while small, I have seen these things set the tone for inspection issue discussions, and eventually cost the seller either before closing or at closing)

              1. Clean gutters and downspouts.

              2. Clear basement casement window wells of debris.

              3. Vacuum your basement, attic and other storage areas (remove the dead mice, true story).

              4. Trim bushes and trees away from you exterior walls and roofs.

              5. Have an electrician fix any non-functioning outlets and switches.

              6. Replace broken or missing roofing shingles.

              7. Address any visual pest situations... wasp/hornet nests, ant hills etc.

              8. Address any obvious drainage issues.

              9. Replace burned out light bulbs.

              10. Replace broken/cracked/fogged windows. Clean windows.

              11. Make sure all appliances, that are staying, work correctly.

              12. Replace water and air filters.

              Other things that you may want to proactively check out include water & air quality testing and septic inspection/pumping (if applicable).

              Addressing small things... and knowing about potentially bigger things... will help you and your Realtor price, negotiate and eventually sell your home for the best price.

              Happy to help you with your Ridgefield, Wilton, Redding, Weston and Stamford Connecticut Real Estate needs.



                1. Rebecca Staub on

                  This is a great list! I would add get the septic pumped if it hasn't been in a long time...

                  Welcome to our new blog!

                  Welcome to my blog! I look forward to making this a great resource for information about real estate, our local area, and current topics that impact you in the buying or selling of a home... or in the area of real estate in general. I encourage you to subscribe to my blog to receive updates and insights as they are published.

                  Please feel free to comment on my posts if you have questions, or something to share. If there is anything you'd like to see me write about, I'd'd love to hear your ideas.

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