Guest Blogger: Tim Hance – 5 Ways to Add Oustanding Value to Your Home



Our friend Tim Hance, of All Islands Home Inspections has put together a great list of budget-friendly ways one can add value to a home. This has come at the perfect time as we approach summer and can take advantage of excellent weather

Inexpensive Ways to Add Great Value to Your Home

1. Create an Open Floor Plan

Conventionally, most households in the United States have a wall that separates the living room and the kitchen. Consequently, people in your sitting room can’t see the kitchen.

Lately, this trend continues to evolve as most home buyers prefer a house with an open space. If a wall separates your living room from the kitchen, remove the wall.

The resulting space will create an island between your kitchen and the living room. Eliminate this island by adding a table and some chairs to create a flow between the two rooms. As Jeanne Baron of This Old House argues, “you’ll increase the space and transform your home’s feel”.

2. Landscaping

Working on your home’s interior is commendable, but don’t forget about the look of those trees and bushes. Why? Because unkempt bushes and tangled trees can easily obscure views, promote mold and darken interiors.

While most homeowners may overlook it, landscaping is among the top three home investments with the highest returns. HomeGain, a real estate marketing company, surveyed 2,000 brokers and discovered that an investment of between $400 – $500 can generate up to four times in returns.

For this reason, pruning your trees is important. If the planters hinder potential buyers’ view of the house, they’ll move right on to other houses that are more visible. Other than losing potential home buyers, neglected Mother Nature can cause other costly damages to property.

3. Update Your Plumbing

If your iron pipes look old and rusty and you fear you’ve ingested enough metal through your drinking water to construct a small ship, it’s time to replace your plumbing system.
Believe it or not, appraisers heavily consider plumbing when giving value to your home. Back in the day, re-piping was a massive undertaking where contractors would have to dig up walls. Lately though, people prefer plastic piping because it’s reliable and easy to install. Professional plumbers can run it through the walls like extension cords.

4. Boost Your Bathroom

As Matt and Nicole, licensed realtors and remodeling experts put it, you can brighten your bathroom up with some paint and add wallpaper. Do not overdo the wallpaper addition, though.
Remember that the moisture in the room can quickly loosen your wallpaper. To prevent this, use super glue to attach the wallpaper to the wall.

Other simple additions you may need to make are introducing a new mirror and a few light fixtures. With these simple procedures, you’ll transform your bathroom from a plain Jane to a beauty queen.

5. Illuminate Your Space

Few people prefer a dark living space and that’s why lighting enhances the appeal of any home. You can do a few things to brighten your house, and these include fixing broken panes, ensuring windows open and fixing switches that trigger dim lighting.

Don’t forget about the lights outside the house as well. They are important for both aesthetic appeal and security.

To add value to your home and beautify it, consider both the interior and exterior parts. Start by implementing each of the above ways as they are the easiest and most inexpensive ways to add value.

Is your home ready for winter?

Now that fall is officially here …. it is time to prepare your home for the winter months ahead. Sure it may seem like a drag but in the end it will help you lower your utility bills and keep your home in good shape for years to come! Here are some easy tips to winterize your home and protect the value of your house:

1. Check your home heating system – Consult a professional to make sure your system is clean and in good shape! Also make sure that all vents are opened an unblocked so that the heat can distribute evenly. Act soon… an inspection will be less expensive than having repairs later down the road.

2. Scan the roof of your home – Check for any signs of damaged shingles or cracks on the roof and repair them immediately. Also,check for any cracked seals around the chimney and vents.

3. Clean the gutters – If gutters are full of leaves and debris, water can back up and potentially cause damage to the roof and siding of the house.

Arvin cleaning the gutters in our office

4. Check for drafts – Caulking and weather-stripping any leaks around windows and doors will help you lower your heating bill this season.

5. Inspect the chimney – Consider having your chimney professionally inspected before the first cold night of the season. This will ensure that everyone at home will enjoy a cozy fire all season long.

6. Turn off exterior faucets- In cold weather water left in the pipes can freeze. Disconnect all garden hoses and drain the remaining water from the faucet. Avoid waking up in the middle of a cold night to a broken pipe.

Congratulations you are officially ready for winter!

Protect your investment…your home might be worth more than you think!

* If you would like to contact Arvin at Arvin’s Pressure Washing and Window Cleaning, please call (360) 941-6973*

If you have any real estate questions please contact Jean Groesbeck (360) 941-3734

Christmas Advice for the Online Shopper

Jingles Groesbeck

Buying on line leaves an electronic footprint

Account Killer

Most of us that use the internet know that more and more websites are requiring the user of the website or the shopper to create an account. Most websites keep this information confidentiial but there are some websites that share the information.

If you worry about personal data flying around on the Internet, you might consider getting rid of some online accounts. But that’s often easier said than done. For example, Skype doesn’t allow users to delete their account. That’s where AccountKiller comes into play. This site has a collection of direct links and instructions on how to easily delete your account with Facebook, Twitter, Google, Groupon, MSN Messenger and hundreds of other sites.

If a site won’t let you delete your account, AccountKiller will tell you how to hide your personal data, or provide you with the contact information needed to take additional steps. With AccountKiller’s color-coding system you can see at a glance if a site will be easy or hard to leave. It’s a good place to look before opening an account with a service.

We need to stay up with the latest technology to be able to market our Anacortes real estate and properties throughout Skagit County. Once in a awhile we find something that has broad appeal so we like to share it.

Of course, if you are thinking of selling or buying a home, we would love to hear from you!

Bob’s Chowder Bar Hosts Hurricane Sandy Benefit

Hurricane Sandy hit home with Bob’s Chowder Bar co-owner Barbara Atterberry.  Barbara was born and raised at the “Jersey Shore” in Monmouth County, one of the areas hardest hit by Hurricane Sandy.  Family and friends are still without power and a first hand report indicates that the situation is dire.

Skagit County residents have a great opportunity to help the Hurricane Sandy victims!  To support those that are surviving the devastating effects of Hurricane Sandy, Anacortes’ Bob’s Chowder Bar & BBQ Salmon will be holding 3 benefit events.  Beginning  November 9, 2012 Bob’s will be collecting new hats, socks, gloves and scarves.  Anyone donating a new item will receive a free can of soda or bottle of water.

November 10, 2012 will be “Eat for the East.”  Ten percent of all of the sales will be donated to the American Red Cross and will be designated to Hurricane Sandy Survivors:  New Jersey.

Starting November 26, 2012 donations of new stuffed animals will be accepted.  Donors will receive 10% off their purchase of any kind.

Both collections will be sent to Barbara’s hometown fire department and will be distributed by the volunteer fire fighters in memory of Barbara’ grandfather Fred Stilwell.

Help support Hurricane Sandy survivors and go to Bob’s Chowder Bar in Anacortes!

Cleaner Guys! – Anacortes & Skagit County

Clean floors… Technicians you trust!

Owner Leif Jacobson from Cleaner Guys tells us why they are the best at what they do!

Cleaner Guys has been in business in Anacortes and through out Skagit County for over 10 years and specializes in cleaning carpet and hard surfaces such as tile/grout and stone.  They employ highest integrity technicians and you can feel safe and comfortable in their presence.  Cleaner Guys staff undergoes world-class training and certification in carpet cleaning & repair as well as hard surface cleaning; they utilize state-of-the-art equipment to accomplish incredible results.  Cleaner Guys does impeccable work at a very competitive price, and back every job with their 100% risk-free guarantee!

Leif Jacobson owns Cleaner Guys.  His background is in law enforcement and he started the company after finding a niche providing extraordinary services for clients in need of a trustworthy cleaning company.  Cleaner Guys offers a 10% Military and Law Enforcement Discount and is also extending a 15% new-client discount to Coldwell Banker Bain clients and colleagues.

Check out, which includes much more information, dozens of testimonials, and astonishing before/after images of their workmanship.  Cleaner Guys also employs the use of their $20 CASH REFERRAL PROGRAM, which you can benefit from an unlimited number of times!  Check out the cleanest guys in the Northwest…

Here are some great photos of Cleaner Guys results to see for yourself!  Contact Cleaner Guys today at 1-800-781-GUYS (4897) or email

August Home Maintenance Tips!

Guest Blogger, Tim Hance from All Island Home Inspections, gives Anacortes homeowners some great home maintenance tips for the month of August!

Kitchen & Bathroom: Check under your sinks for signs of leaks from supply pipes and waste pipes. Also check for rust on the bottom of enameled steel sinks and water damage to the countertop.

Structure & Exterior: Check your home’s exterior wood for paint or wood stain needs.

Vinyl siding: Assess vinyl siding for cleaning needs. It requires less maintenance than most other sidings, but it still needs occasional cleaning.

Plumbing: Getting cold showers? The sediment in your water heater might be lowering your water temperature and the amount of available water. Flush sediment from your water heater.

Electrical: Inspect your outdoor electric wiring. While you’re outdoors during warm weather, take a few moments to inspect your outdoor electric outlets, lighting and wiring.

For more complete details and step-by-step guides see the article.

Tim Hance – All Island Home Inspections
Local, Certified & Licensed Professional Home Inspector

If you would like to read more about how to keep your Anacortes home looking great, please see our blog!

Great new restaurant – Bistro On Spruce!

Today I visited a new restaurant in Skagit County, Bistro on Spruce!

I had the best Chicken Fajita Salad for lunch, and sampled a few other delicious treats for dessert! This is a place you will definitely want to visit  with your family and friends.

Bistro on Spruce features award winning local chefs preparing farm to table foods fresh each day.

It is perfect room for private events or small dinner parties!

Bistro on Spruce is conveniently located on S. Spruce St., just off the I-5 corridor in Burlington.  Easy access from Oak Harbor, Anacortes and La Conner food lovers too!

Every morning the breakfast menu offers everything from flapjacks to yogurt parfaits and everything in between.

Scratch baked cookies and cakes are packed and ready to go… be sure to try the infamous Bacon Cake!!!!

Bistro on Spruce is open Monday – Friday from 7:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.  and is located at 676 S. Spruce St., Burlington, WA  98233

For more information about Bistro On Spruce, call (360) 982-2418 check out their Facebook page here!

Dean Piper Speaks About Your Chimney!

Every month we receive several calls from folks who are shopping for service for their gas or wood stoves and fireplaces. The truth is they are price shopping.
While it certainly makes great sense to save money whenever possible, choosing your medical specialist by how much they charge is probably not in the best interest of your long term health. So, think of the Chimney Sweep or Gas Service Technician as your doctor for your fireplace or stove. The more education and training we receive, the better we are to ensure the safety of your equipment and your home.
Becoming Chimney Safety Institute of America and National Fire Institute certified and maintaining those certifications requires classroom training, testing on a National level and continuing education. It allows us to belong to organizations that ensure we are kept up to date with all current code and safety regulations both at the National and State levels. We adhere to standards of what must be included in each level of inspection and parameters for what level of inspection must be completed in each situation.
A proper cleaning and inspection is a lot more than pushing a brush (hopefully one that is the proper shape and size for your chimney) up and down the chimney. The Certified Sweep will clean and inspect the fireplace or stove and venting system inside and out to ensure it is mechanically sound and safe to operate. They will discuss all findings with the homeowner and leave a written report, which will delineate any further inspection or work that must be completed immediately or in the future. They provide consumer education on proper burning and home maintenance. For the Certified Sweep, this is more than a job; it is his or her PROFESSION.

Dean Piper-YOHS LLC, Your Stove Shop

Dean Piper, CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep, CSIA-C-DET Certified Dryer Vent Technician, NFI Certified Master Hearth Specialist in Gas, Wood and Pellet products.
YHOS, LLC – Your Stove Shop
438 NE O’Leary Street
Oak Harbor, WA 98277
(360) 682-5317
Please take the time to protect your Skagit County real estate!
If you are interested in homes for sale in the area, please contact Jean Groesbeck at (360) 941-3734 or email

New Residential Efficiency Program

On February 22, from 2:30 to 5:00 pm, Skagit County’s Sustainability Office will host an open house to kickoff the Skagit County Community Energy Challenge (“SCEC”).  This  program was designed to encourage and facilitate residential energy efficiency.

This program will help homeowners achieve energy efficiency, water conservation, waste reduction,  and creation of wildlife habitat.

The program will provide a home energy assessment and report which will show homeowners opportunities on how to lower their home bills through insulation, air sealing, and other measures.  The assessment, normally valued at $500-$600, will only cost the homeowner $95, and is the only cost for this program.   The remainder of the cost is being funded by a grant to Skagit County from the U.S. Department of Energy through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The SCEC provides valuable information to homeowners on how to make their home more sustainable (including rebate and incentive programs), and the necessary steps to make these recommended improvements.

The open house will be held in the lobby of the Skagit County Commissioners Administrative Building located at 1800 Continental Place in Mount Vernon.  Those interested in attending the program can email or call (360) 419-7607.

For more information on Skagit County, or homes for sale throughout Skagit County, please contact or call (360) 941-3734.

Dad’s Diner!


Now, in our own “front yard” we on Fidalgo Island can satisfy our yearning for good old-fashioned BBQ  at Anacortes’ new Dad’s Diner A-Go-Go on the corner of Commercial Ave. and 22nd .

For details on the mouth-watering offerings or  catering or delivery options, call owners Fletcher Mc Lean or Neil Stuchal at 360-840-2938.  If they don’t answer, they may be out stoking the fire for the BBQ pit!

If you are interested in learning more about Anacortes, or homes for sale in the area, please contact me at (360) 202-8888 or email