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Luxury Homes, Investment, and Property Management

By Fred Yancy, Broker | Broker in Woodstock, GA
  • How to Boost Energy Efficiency in Your Home and Live Green

    Posted Under: General Area, Quality of Life, How To...  |  November 6, 2013 5:35 PM  |  1,584 views  |  1 comment

    How to Boost Energy Efficiency in Your Home and Live Green


    It’s now easier than ever for homeowners to transform their homes into models of green living thanks to the growing availability of affordable, energy-smart building products and materials. From replacing incandescent light bulbs to reviewing the energy rating on new appliances, more homeowners are making informed decisions on how to cut energy consumption and boost efficiency.

    Homeowners who are serious about boosting their home’s energy efficiency should consider working with a certified Home Energy Rater. These professionals conduct a series of tests to assess a home’s energy efficiency to provide an overall efficiency rating in much the same way that appliances are rated. Armed with this information, homeowners can make home improvement decisions that further boost their home’s energy efficiency.

    According to the U.S Department of Energy, heating and cooling accounts for about 56 percent of the energy use in a typical U.S. home. While using smart thermostats can help correct daily energy use, homeowners should consider how thoroughly sealed their home truly is. For instance, the amount of air escaping from the home via cracks and gaps within the building envelope can have a significant impact on the overall efficiency of the heating and cooling system.

    Why does this matter? Escaping air means the furnace or air-conditioner must work overtime to compensate and maintain a comfortable living temperature. As a result, energy consumption remains high, monthly bills continue to climb and any efficiency achieved through other methods is done in vain.

    Understanding the factors that contributes to air leakage is essential for improving efficiency and lowering monthly bills. One of the key areas to consider is the home’s insulation. While some homeowners may think simply layering more insulation on top of existing insulation may do the trick, typically these traditional insulation types are unable to provide a thorough air seal or promote better heating and cooling efficiency. In fact, all the small gaps left behind by regular insulation materials like fiberglass can add up quickly.

    One effective consideration is replacing traditional insulation with a high-performance spray foam insulation. Spray foam insulation, such as Icynene, both air-seals and insulates to stop air leakage from occurring, allowing homeowners to reduce energy consumption, effectively control their indoor environments and live greener.

    When installed, spray foam insulation expands to completely seal a home’s walls, floors and ceilings to prevent air leakage. Insulation experts from Icynene note that quality spray foam insulation can noticeably reduce heating and cooling costs, in some cases by up to 50 percent. More information on how spray foam insulation can help improve household energy efficiency and reduce air leakage is available at icynene.com

    Fred Yancy, REALTOR
    Harry Norman, Realtors | Cobb Marietta
    776 Whitlock | Marietta, GA 30064
    C: (678) 799-4663 | D: (678) 581-7367 | F: (404) 497-5256

  • Puppy-proof Your Home

    Posted Under: General Area, How To..., Home Ownership  |  October 27, 2013 6:41 AM  |  673 views  |  1 comment

    Puppy-proof Your Home

    Prevent harm to both your baby dog and your possessions

    By Diana Lundin

    Puppy being held.Adorable as this puppy may be, he's capable of enormous amounts of damage. Image: iStock
    Puppies are like water. They can get in everything. And like liquid, once a puppy is in something he shouldn’t be, that object might very well be ruined. Cute as they are, puppies can wreak havoc in your home and yard in a matter of minutes with their shredding, chewing and, uh, “elimination” issues.

    In order to prevent puppies from doing enormous amounts of damage to both your house and themselves, you need to puppy-proof your home. And the best time to do that is before that little pooch comes to live in his new house.

    It’s really no different than baby-proofing your house to prevent your child from injury. You don’t want your kid to stick a fork in an electrical outlet and you don’t want a puppy to gnaw on a box of chocolates or a particularly poisonous houseplant or a plugged-in lamp cord.

    First, think like a puppy. Puppies are explorers and you need to be one, too. Crawl down on the floor and see what might entice your baby dog. Then protect those items of interest by putting them out of reach, hiding the object in a closet or drawer, or lashing it to something strong.
    What might be of interest?

    • Garbage cans
    • Children’s toys
    • Books, newspapers, mail
    • Houseplants
    • Pillows and rugs
    • Computer, lamp and other electrical cords
    • Furniture
    • Shoes
    • Household cleaners both in the house or garage
    • Paper products such as tissue and toilet paper
    • Other small animals, such as reptiles, gerbils, hamsters
    • Dishes with or without food in them
    • Discarded table scraps
    • Medications and cosmetics

    And then there’s teething. Your puppy will chew on anything possible and will consider it his birthright to do so, especially when the teething process kicks in. Make sure your new dog has toys that can withstand puppy teeth to call its own. With an especially destructive puppy, you don’t want to offer a lot of toys because then he may not be able to tell the difference between what’s yours and what’s his. If you have children, he may filch one of their toys and that may cause problems, not only because the puppy may destroy one of your child’s favorite playthings but because it might have small parts that your animal can choke on.  Skip the rawhide and choose something both chewy and durable, such as the highly recommended Kong rubber toys and Jolly Pet balls. Keep an eye for wear on the toys, especially squeaky ones whose squeakers might choke a puppy.

    • Barricade areas of the house your puppy shouldn’t wander into using baby gates. How many people have lost untold pairs of shoes to a puppy finding an open, untended closet?
    • Housebreak your puppy. Review training methods before your puppy comes home, then pick a suitable one and follow it.
    • Use a chewing prohibitive spray, like Bitter Apple, on your furniture.
    • Crate your puppy when you’re not home or can’t supervise him. Crating is an effective and safe tool when used properly. Don’t ever use the crate as punishment. It should be associated with positive experiences, such as food or other treats.
    • Train your dog. A badly behaved dog is most often directly the result of its owner. Seek positive, cruelty free training for your puppy so he can learn good behavior from the onset. Love your dog but educate him, too. You’ll both be happier.

      Fred Yancy, REALTOR
      Harry Norman, Realtors | Cobb Marietta
      776 Whitlock | Marietta, GA 30064
      C: (678) 799-4663 | D: (678) 581-7367 | F: (404) 497-5256
  • Color Know How

    Posted Under: General Area, Design & Decor, How To...  |  October 27, 2013 6:33 AM  |  552 views  |  No comments

    Color Know How

    by Sherwin Williams
    Using Color to Set the Mood

    Color is great for setting the mood and ambiance in a room. With a coordinated color scheme, you can leap into a vibrant living room brimming with creative energy, or retreat into a gentle, welcoming bedroom that soothes and relaxes. Use our color coordinating tips below to get the unified look and feel for your home.
    If you want more ideas than the ones we provided below, visit Sherwin-Williams’ Traditional Twist Collection.
    Drama? Yes please! Combine bold shades with neutral components to create a stunning look that instantly creates a striking statement. By painting the walls a strong, dark color, all other colors in the room will pop with surprising results. The same result can be achieved by adding dark or bold accessories around the room.
    Colors Used 
    • Tricorn Black 
    • Antique Red 
    • Rustic City
    Give a room an inviting feel by using neutral shades as your base while using touches of bolder accent colors. Paint isn’t limited to just walls. Reinvent your furniture and involve them in your room’s overall color scheme. 
    Colors Used
    If you see your home as your sanctuary, you might lean towards more relaxing tones. Go for lighter and cooler colors. Think about changing the color of the ceiling too. A shade or two lighter of the same color of your walls will make the entire space feel more expansive.
    Colors Used
    • Burlap
    • Sand Beach
    • Foothills

      Fred Yancy, REALTOR
      Harry Norman, Realtors | Cobb Marietta
      776 Whitlock | Marietta, GA 30064
      C: (678) 799-4663 | D: (678) 581-7367 | F: (404) 497-5256

  • 10 Ways to Save on Your Gas Bills

    Posted Under: General Area, How To..., Home Ownership  |  October 27, 2013 6:27 AM  |  581 views  |  3 comments

    10 Ways to Save on Your Gas Bills

    The Department of Energy shows you how

    Make the most of your energy dollar. Just follow these simple guidelines and enjoy lower gas bills this season.

    1. Set your thermostat as low as is comfortable in the winter. For each degree you raise your thermostat setting, your fuel bill climbs 3 percent. So dress accordinglyconsider slipping into a sweater before you crank up the temperature.
    2. Clean or replace filters on furnaces once a month or as needed. A simple task like this and those in No. 3 could improve your systems' energy efficiency by 10 percent.
    3. Clean warm-air registers, baseboard heaters, and radiators as needed; make sure they're not blocked by furniture, carpeting, or drapes.
    4. Bleed trapped air from hot-water radiators once or twice a season; if in doubt about how to perform this task, call a professional.
    5. Place heat-resistant radiator reflectors between exterior walls and the radiators.
    6. Use kitchen, bath, and other ventilating fans wisely; in just 1 hour, these fans can pull out a houseful of warmed air. Turn fans off as soon as they have done the job. Try to keep the humidity level between 30 percent and 60 percent.
    7. During the heating season, keep the draperies and shades on your south-facing windows open during the day to allow sunlight to enter your home and closed at night to reduce the chill you may feel from cold windows. During the cooling season, keep the window coverings closed during the day to prevent solar gain.
    8. Close an unoccupied room that is isolated from the rest of the house, such as in a corner, and turn down the thermostat or turn off the heating for that room or zone. Some programmable thermostats now come with temperature zoning options However, do not turn the heating off if it adversely affects the rest of your system. For example, if you heat your house with a heat pump, do not close the ventsclosing the vents could harm the heat pump.
    9. Consider installing double-pane windows with protective coating that reflects heat back into your home during winter. If such a retrofit is not in your budget, cover your windows with clear plastic film. At a typical cost of $4 to $6 per window, the film creates an insulating air pocket between the plastic and the window, reducing heat loss through windows by between 25 percent and 50 percent.
    10. Caulk and weather strip around exterior seams, cracks and openings. Pay extra attention around windows and at points where various exterior materials like wood, brick and vinyl siding meet. And on the inside, caulking and weather-stripping around windows and door frames will cut down on drafts.


    Fred Yancy, REALTOR
    Harry Norman, Realtors | Cobb Marietta
    776 Whitlock | Marietta, GA 30064
    C: (678) 799-4663 | D: (678) 581-7367 | F: (404) 497-5256
  • DIY Birdbath

    Posted Under: General Area, Design & Decor, How To...  |  October 27, 2013 5:34 AM  |  467 views  |  No comments
    DIY Birthbath

    Goodmorning! Today I thought I'd show you how I make all my birdbaths and feeders that I have all about my gardens.They are very affordable to make and easy as well.
    First you need a bag of quickcrete cement $4  ,a bucket water,a stirer,plastic wrap,sand and a leaf of your choice,now lets get started.First your going to mound up your sand into a small pile,this retains the cup like shape of your leaf.

    The next thing is to cover your mound of sand with plastic wrap.Now add your cement to your bucket and SLOWLY add enough water to get a brownie like consistency.

    Now place your leaf of choice face down on the pile and mound the cement on top and just out to the edges taking care to make the edges not to thin.Make the center a bit thicker and flatten out as this will be the bottom and will sit wherever you put it. Now cover up with plastic wrap and wait overnight to cure.Carefully remove your leaf from the cast,it should peel right out.Now your ready to have some fun,just get some acrylic paints and dilute them with some water and go to town!When they are dry you can seal them with Thompsons water sealer.

    Here are some others that I've made as well.

    Fred Yancy, REALTOR
    Harry Norman, Realtors | Cobb Marietta
    776 Whitlock | Marietta, GA 30064
    C: (678) 799-4663 | D: (678) 581-7367 | F: (404) 497-5256
  • DIY ~ Fall Corn Cob

    Posted Under: General Area, Design & Decor, How To...  |  October 20, 2013 5:12 AM  |  279 views  |  No comments

    DIY ~ Fall Corn Cob

    by Barb

    Here's the corn cob wreath I spotted in a garden center for $15 !

    Here’s the corn cob wreath I spotted in a garden center for $15 !

    My version of the corn cob wreath made for just $4.00 !

    My version of the corn cob wreath made for just $4 !

    While buying some winter pansies this week at a local nursery, I spotted a wonderful corn cob wreath. The price was too high at $15 for my wallet, so I decided to recreate it. Since I don’t grow corn, I had to purchase some, but it was only $4 for two bunches of Indian corn. I chose a larger bunch with five ears of corn in darker colors and a smaller bunch in lighter colors.

    You will need the following materials: 5 large ears of Indian Corn, 2  ears of small Indian Corn, about 30 inches of wire or a straightened wire coat hanger, an electric drill and wired burlap ribbon.

    I started by snapping each large ear into three pieces (a total of 15 pieces) and then drilled a hole through each one. Make sure the hole you drill is large enough for the wire. Do the drilling over a piece of wood, so when the bit breaks through the end it doesn’t damage your work table.  Make a twist at one end of the wire before threading the corn pieces so they stay on. Once all the drilled pieces are threaded, twist the wire end pieces together to form a circle. Now attach the small corn pieces using some wired burlap ribbon (which I had on hand!).

    Your wreath is ready for decorative seasonal use and will double as a pretty fall birdfeeder too!

    After breaking the large Indian Corn into thirds, drill a hole through each piece and insert the wire.

    After breaking the large Indian Corn into thirds, drill a hole through each piece and insert the wire.

    Twist the wire ends together to make a circle.

    Twist the wire ends together to make a circle.

    Tie the smaller Indian Corn on with wired burlap ribbon.

    Tie the smaller Indian Corn on with wired burlap ribbon.

    Corn Cob Wreath finished & ready to hang !

    Corn Cob Wreath finished & ready to hang !

    Fred Yancy, Broker
    Harry Norman, Realtors
    Cobb Marietta
    766 Whitlock
    Marietta, GA 30064
    (678) 799-4663 cell
    (678) 581-7367 direct line
    (404) 497-5256 fax
  • How To Paint Your Countertops

    Posted Under: Remodel & Renovate, Design & Decor, How To...  |  October 3, 2013 5:42 AM  |  2,154 views  |  No comments
    How To Paint Your Countertops
    A few weeks ago I showed you my newly painted countertops. It was an affordable and budget friendly alternative to new counters and we are so happy with the results. I have gotten so much great email from you all about the process and so I'm sharing how I painted my countertops to resemble faux stone or laminate!

    by Jenny

    Step 1: Prep
    Of course you know this is so important so don't skip it!  I first washed my counters, let them dry, and taped off any areas I didn't want painted.  I then applied a liquid sandpaper product that de-glazes. When that was dry I applied a coat of an all purpose primer (mine was latex) using a foam roller.

    The Bulls Eye 1-2-3 Primer is amazing. It adheres so well and creates a nice smooth surface for the paint. Love this stuff.

    Step 2: Apply paint
     If you look online you'll see everyone has their own method to do this. This is mine but it isn't the only way. It depends on the look you want.  I used 6-7 colors of acrylic craft paint.  

    • Apple Barrel Antique White
    • Craft Smart Bisque
    • Craft Smart Vanilla
    • Americana Pebble
    • Folk Art Burnt Umber
    • Folk Art Metallic Champagne (I did not use this one until the next day...read on)
    • Martha Stewart Metallic Pewter (sparingly)
     The application materials I used was a variety of natural sponges, slim artist brushes, crumpled paper towels.

    I used a laminate sample to help me with color and texture

    I used the largest sponge to apply the color in the order I had practiced, starting with the Antique White and layering each color on after that. I worked in 2 ft sections. I wanted to apply the next color before the one before had fully dried because I wanted it to look more natural. If you like a more speckled look then wait for each layer to dry before adding the next.

    I just kept playing with it. I went back over areas to lighten or darken. I did that A LOT. 

    I created veining my loading the artist brush with one of the lighter colors and rolling it as I dragged it across the surface. I did this everywhere including the back splash and sides. I immediately blotted the vein with a sponge or paper towel so it was a little less defined and more natural.

    Look, I'll be honest. I went over and over and over the counter with the different colors. I am a nut job and need perfection. In hindsight I probably didn't need to do it quite that much.

    Step 3: Dry and Seal
    I let it dry overnight. The next morning I applied a sponged layer all over the counter top with the Metallic Champagne paint. It is very sheer and just adds hints of sparkle and depth. That is my absolute favorite part and it pulled the whole thing together!

    When dry, I wiped the counters to remove any little random bits of dry paint or dust. I then applied 5 coats of polyurethane. I started with the polycrylic but I didn't like how it was going on so I switched to a semi-gloss all purpose poly I had.  Remember to apply water based poly over water based paint and oil based poly over oil based paint.

    I really wanted to use a bartop epoxy that you pour on but frankly, I used what I had and since I'm hoping these counters won't be around in a year I figured it would be fine. But for a really durable, shiny look spring for the epoxy.

    I would like to do 5 more coats of poly but for now it is holding up well!  I use my counters like any other, wipe them down, etc. I don't put hot things on them but I wouldn't do that with any laminate.  

    I darkened this so you can see the details. It isn't this dark in person.

    If you have any questions or if something isn't clear please let me know. I'll be happy to help over email!


    Jenny's Tips For Successfully Painting Your Counters
    Practice, practice, practice on poster board. I tried 4 different color combos before I settled on this particular one.

    Vary your application mediums. I varied from large to small, sponges to brushes to crumpled paper towels. I felt this made it look natural and less painted.

    Before you take off the tape, slice it with an Exacto knife or box cutter. The tape can definitely take up your hard work.

    Caulk around the sink and backsplash to make clean edges and hide any imperfections that may have been created by taking off the tape.

    Go over areas again and again until you achieve the look you want. 
    Ask for opinions. My neighbor came over 2-3 times to give me her opinion. After a while it all started blending to me and I couldn't be objective.
    I will 100% honest. As I was doing it I thought "Oh no, what have I done. It looks like sponge painting from 1991."  But trust yourself. Keep sponging. Keep blotting. Keep adding colors. Keep blending. Keep adding veining. Blend some more. Go to bed. Wake up and survey the counters. Heck, you can even give it a quick sand and reprime if you absolutely hate it. You won't. Just keep doing it until you are happy.

    I had a party here twice and both times everyone stood at my counters saying, "No way. I don't believe it. Paint?" Those were the ultimate compliments! You can do this too!

    Fred Yancy, Broker
    Crye-Leike Realtors
    (678) 799-4663
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