Donna Fessler - Berkshire Hathoway Home Service


Allergies are extremely common in America with millions of Americans suffering from symptoms.

The most common household allergies are seasonal, which run from February to early summer, and animal allergies which can pose a risk at any time.

There are some ways you can limit some of the allergens in your home, whether you want to make your house more allergy-proof for yourself and family or your guests.

Seasonal allergies

There are a number of plant pollen and mold allergies that are common throughout the United States. During pollen season, especially on dry, windy days, these pollens are spread everywhere.

Many people who experience seasonal allergies watch local pollen levels in their area to prepare themselves for peak days when they are most likely to experience symptoms. During these times, it’s best to keep doors and windows completely shut. This includes your home, garage, and vehicle.

To clean up after times of high pollen levels, it’s a good idea to first vacuum and then use a damp cloth to dust household surfaces. The moisture will trap pollens and prevent them from escaping back into the air.

When it comes to mold, there are a number of preventative measures you can take in your home. The most important thing you can do is avoid excess moisture in your home. You can do this by using a dehumidifier, monitoring water pipes, and cleaning spills and leaks immediately after they happen.

Animal allergies

Pet owners love their pets. But the pet dander that comes with them is a leading cause of allergies. To help mitigate pet allergies in your home, focus on the areas where your pets spend the most time. If your pet sleeps on your bed or has their own bed, wash the bed linens frequently.

Since most pets spend their days inside your home, roaming the floors, it’s important to vacuum frequently with a high-efficiency vacuum cleaner. High-efficiency machines that are sealed properly and use effective filters are much better at reducing the amount of dust that escapes during vacuuming and when you empty the vacuum itself.

Air filters

The filter on your vacuum isn’t the only one necessary for reducing allergy-causing particles in your home. Heating and ventilation systems also come with air filters that need to be cleaned or replaced.

When replacing your filter, look for one that is HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) certified to remove the most allergens possible.

Don’t forget the backyard

Since many allergies are carried in on the wind and shoes entering your home from the outside, it’s important to understand which allergens you might be growing in your backyard. Some trees, grasses, and plants cause higher levels of allergies and are more likely to cause symptoms to you and your guests.

Even the most common trees like pine and maple can be problematic for some people, so it’s important to know what you’re allergic to and whether you should take steps to landscape away some of those allergens.


Getting a cat, dog or other pets ready for an upcoming move sometimes can be tricky. Fortunately, we're here to help you and your pet enjoy a quick, seamless transition to a new address.

Now, let's take a look at three moving tips that every pet owner needs to know.

1. Prepare Your Pet's Records

If you're moving far away from your current address, you likely will need to find a new veterinarian in the near future. As such, it pays to prepare your pet's records today to avoid potential problems down the line.

Ask your current veterinarian for a copy of your pet's records. By doing so, you'll have these records readily available for your new veterinarian once you reach your new address.

2. Help Your Pet Manage Stress

Moving is stressful, even for a pet. However, there are many simple ways to help your pet alleviate stress throughout the moving process.

For example, keeping your pet away from movers may prove to be exceedingly valuable. If a pet sees familiar furniture and other items leaving your home, he or she may start to feel worried. On the other hand, spending extra time with your pet while movers pick up your belongings may help you pet minimize stress on moving day.

3. Protect Your Pet While Traveling

Keep your pet in a crate while you're driving to your new home – you'll be glad you did. It is unsafe for your pet to roam free in your car, especially if you're going to be on the road for several hours. Conversely, if you keep your pet in a crate, you'll help him or her remain safe for the duration of your journey.

If you are traveling by airplane, ensure your pet has met all necessary airline requirements. In addition, pick up a pet crate and consult with a veterinarian before your flight.

For those who need extra assistance with navigating the moving process, it often helps to work with a real estate agent. In fact, this housing market professional can help you and your pet overcome myriad moving day pitfalls.

A real estate agent can offer expert insights into what it takes to move with a pet. He or she also can provide comprehensive support as you prepare for a move and respond to any moving day concerns or questions that you may have.

Of course, a real estate agent can help you buy or sell a house as well. For homebuyers, a real estate agent can provide details about homes located near dog parks and other pet-friendly venues. Meanwhile, for home sellers, a real estate agent will make it easy to generate plenty of interest in your house so that you can get the best price for it.

Are you and your pet ready to move? Use the aforementioned moving tips, and you and your pet should have no trouble completing a successful relocation.


Photo by Mark McCammon via Pexels

Anyone who has ever gone out on a job interview or a date knows how important a good first impression is. First impressions can color the entire way we approach a person and environment. When it comes to your home, you want to create a positive setting that draws people in on first sighting.

But did you know that there are several common home staging mistakes that sellers do that actually have an opposite, polarizing effect; turning away potential buyers?  The following is a look at those common faux pas to ensure you avoid them and instead sell your home fast:

3 Common Home Staging Mistakes to Avoid

Not professionally cleaning before the stage. Regular house cleaning, even if it's the best house cleaning efforts you've ever done, may not be enough to really appeal during home staging. This is one of those situations in which you want a deep clean done by the professionals. Professional house cleaning services will ensure everything is pristine from floorboard to ceiling corner, helping both get out stains and lingering odors. This is important both because a deep clean best shows off a property and it sends a subliminal message that the house has been well-cared for and maintained.

Forgetting about storage areas (including the garage). Storage areas can be make or break spaces for your future buyers. So it's important to not neglect these areas when prepping for photographs or open houses. If necessary, consider renting a storage facility to store all of your excess clothes, blankets, Tupperware, etc. Thus, whether it's a closet or garage, make sure it's included in your list of places to prep!

Not putting away personal items. This can be a very, very hard thing for home sellers to avoid but it is important. Remember, the goal of a home staging, both in pictures and when setting up an open house, is to get potential home buyers to imagine what the home could be like if it were theirs. You want to create a neutral canvas that allows your audience to paint in the details. As such, having too many personal items and personalized decor touches can turn off potential home buyers. So pack them up and send them off to the storage unit before the cameras come out and the buyers start a'knocking. 



Nothing completes an open floor plan better than open shelving. Open shelves present everything for the world to see. They transform what may be a cluttered, dark, hidden space into one that becomes a place of not only function but of style. 

Open shelving complements the Minimalist, Industrial or Scandinavian Modern styles. But depending on how you arrange on those shelves, it can also work with those who love something more cozy like Rural or French Country. 

On the other hand, open shelving isn't for everyone. Some prefer the convenience and privacy of tucking items away behind closed doors. They feel less need to continually ensure everything looks beautiful on those shelves. And if you live in an arid climate, doors protect dishes, cans and boxes of pasta from the dust that tends to settle.

Doors vs. shelving? That's the question you'll need to ask yourself before making a change. But if you're ready to transform your cabinets to open shelving, here's how it's done.

Clear Your Cabinets

Get everything out of the way. That includes removing those doors, which should simply require a screwdriver. Already, you'll begin to see your open shelves taking shape.

Fill Any Holes

You won't need them since you're not replacing the doors. Fill any holes with wood filler. If these look uneven, hand sand them. But paint will cover up most of the imperfection.

Remove Center Braces

A cabinet with more than one door will likely have a piece of wood where the two doors come together. You don't need it. Remove it with a saw and hammer. 

If you find any nails or staples left behind, you may need to pry them. But sometimes you'll find they've been driven in too far. If there's nothing that the claws of a hammer can grasp, force the nail back through the wood. It should only take some careful whacks to the sharp side with your hammer. 

Paint Your Shelves

You choose the color. But why stick with one? Open shelves are the perfect opportunity to add contrast. Try painting the inside a dark color like navy, black, dark gray or red. Then paint the outside a complementing light color, pale gray or white. 

Whatever you do, don't forget to seal the paint with a polyacrylic. It reduces the risk of water damage and strengthens the paint so that it's less likely to chip or fade.

Let It Dry & Organize

Don't place anything on the shelves for at least 48 hours. But once that timer dings, you're ready to assemble. If you have more dishes than you can presentably place on the shelves, ask yourself if you need them. Less is more on open shelving.

We hope you enjoy your new open shelving. To learn more about home maintenance and design, follow our blog.


Photo by Alex Qian from Pexels


Whether you’re remodeling your home or building one from scratch there are a few vintage features you may want to incorporate. No matter the style of your home—modern, traditional, country chic—these additions can fit seamlessly in your house. Work with your architect to see how you can add these details to your design plan. 

Functional —

Laundry Shoot: In a multi-story home a laundry shoot is a great built-in tool, especially for larger households. Without taking up too much space in the walls you can place a shoot upstairs that sends clothes right into a basket in the laundry room. Need to access from multiple stories? No problem, you can add access doors on each floor.

Phone Nook: A phone nook, or niche, historically housed a phone on a ledge or a wall-mounted phone. In a modern house, you can add a nook in any room. Include electricity and plenty of plugs so it can function as a charging station for smartphones, tablets and computers.

Aesthetic —

Ceiling Medallions & Tin Tiles: Medallions and tiles are gorgeous installations that add interest to ceilings. A medallion above an entryway light or dining room chandelier creates drama in an unexpected location. Medallions can match your ceiling color but are also available in gold leaf, bronze or even walnut finish. Tin tiles also come in many styles and colors. They look great on the ceiling but they also make a unique kitchen or bathroom backsplash.

Wood Paneling: Wood paneling doesn’t have to feel dark and dated. You can use all types of wood to fit with the style of your home. Paneling is often installed to cover a full wall but it can also be added as wainscoting. Consider using wood paneling to create geometric wall patterns like lattice and grids.

Both! —

Dutch Door: Dutch doors aren’t just for homes with farmhouse style architecture. These beautiful doors are functional as well. Open just the top half for great airflow during nice weather, without letting the dog or littles ones out!

Stained Glass Transom Window: Transom windows are a feature seen mainly in vintage homes. But why? These windows add an artistic touch while being functional. You can find stained glass designs that fit with any style, even modern industrial, or have a custom design created for your home. Select transom windows that open so that they work in conjunction with your home cooling system to allow rising hot air to circulate.

Pocket Doors and Shutters: Doors and shutters that slide into the wall or fold into a nook are extremely functional and aesthetically pleasing. Storing doors and shutters in the wall allows you keep wall areas open for decor while conserving floor space and creating additional options for furniture placement. 

Picture Rail Moulding: Moulding with a curved top that holds picture hooks, or an open bottom where you can attach holders is a great way to be able to move art around, hanging it from wire at different lengths and easily place it. The moulding is a nice and subtle décor feature in itself. 

When designing your home, add in all the new features we love today but don’t forget to consider some design features of the past that can really enhance your living space.




Loading