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Stacey Hartley-Mullins
Office: 540-664-3390
ERA OakCrest Realty, Inc.
126 N Kent St
Winchester, VA 22601

To repair or replace? That is the question

A creaking floorboard. A finicky toaster. Are these bothersome quirks serious enough to be replaced or can you get by with a simple repair?

Kitchen appliances
Small appliances such as a toaster or coffee pot probably cost more to repair than replace. For dishwashers, ovens and other large appliances, consider replacing older models with energy-efficient new ones.

Exterior door
If it's leaking, drafty or made of poor-quality materials, replace it. You will save money on heating and cooling, which will pay for itself over time. Plus, replacing an older front door with a new one will increase not only the security of your property, but the curb appeal as well.

Old wooden flooring
Depending on the condition of your wood floors, repairing and refinishing is more affordable than replacing – especially if you're willing to do some or all of the work yourself. Keep in mind that it's not always necessary to sand the floors down to the raw wood. It's wise to consult a flooring contractor to find out just how much work the job will require.

Drafty windows
Replace warped, poorly fitting windows with today's energy-efficient styles. Your energy bills will shrink and your home's value will increase with this popular upgrade.

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Also in this issue...
Summertime tips for your home
Should you invest in an Instant Pot?
Countertop conversation: concrete, granite or wood?
Buffalo Chicken Taquitos

Summertime tips for your home

'Tis the season for gardening, taking a vacation and relaxing at home, but it's also time for doing repairs and maintenance around the house.

The warm temperatures of spring and summer are a boon to all kinds of bugs and creepy-crawlies. Keep them out and away from your home by trimming shrubs and bushes near your home's exterior, eliminating any standing water, distancing bird feeders from your home, and spraying eco-friendly repellent around your home's foundation, doors and windows.

When the weather gets hot, condensation can form on your toilet and run down the side, creating a potentially damaging puddle of water. Soggy flooring and water-damaged baseboards require immediate attention. To stop your toilet from sweating, you can install an anti-sweat valve. These valves help to heat the water in your toilet just enough to warm the bowl and prevent sweating. You can find them at your local home improvement store.

Make time for DIY projects, such as painting the garage door, cleaning out the gutters, and installing a new garden-hose rack. Use this season to update your home's exterior and invest in the projects that increase your home's value and your quality of life.

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Should you invest in an Instant Pot?

If you keep up with the latest kitchen trends, the Instant Pot may be on your wish list. This multi-functional device takes over the job of a pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, steamer, and yogurt maker.

Here are some points to consider:

If you want something to help you cook more conveniently and save time, the Instant Pot is a great gadget to own. It offers multiple settings you will enjoy using. In addition, it's available in several models at different price points, so you can select the one to best fit your budget.

For some, the Instant Pot has a learning curve that can slow down the meal-preparation process. And, if you enjoy the culinary arts, the Instant Pot may not be ideal. The convenience and quickness of it can take away from the hands-on process that many home chefs prefer.

Those who enjoy cooking and preparing food may not appreciate the Instant Pot as much as busy people who don't have the time, energy or expertise to spend hours in the kitchen.

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Countertop conversation: concrete, granite or wood?

You want to update your countertops, but the sheer volume of options and designs is overwhelming. To make an informed decision, start by evaluating the best features of some of the most popular countertop materials: concrete, granite and wood.

Pros: Concrete customization goes a step beyond the usual colorizing and staining techniques, as homeowners can embed tile, stone or other materials to make their countertops unique. Concrete is also extremely tough, making wear and tear less of a problem.

Cons: Prices will vary per square foot, especially if you choose an elaborate design or customization. The upkeep requires frequent attention, as concrete must be resealed every 1-3 years to remain in pristine condition. If not, juice and oil can permanently stain your countertop.

Pros: Granite comes in a variety of colors and designs, making it a breeze to complement your color palette. Your countertops will be different from your neighbor's even if you both choose this heat-resistant, scratch-resistant option. Granite is a timeless material that's also very durable.

Cons: If not sealed properly, this porous material will absorb spills and wear more easily. While uncommon, it's possible to have cracks that will need a granite professional to reseal. Granite is also on the expensive side of the spectrum.

Pros: Wood is easy to customize, affordable and features a rustic, natural look. This countertop choice can be stained to match your color scheme and comes in a variety of woods to fit your budget and décor needs, while providing a warm, down-to-earth feel.

Cons: If not properly sealed, wood is more susceptible to chips, scratches and general wear and tear than other surfaces. Water damage can also be a challenge if the surface is not regularly treated and protected.

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Buffalo Chicken Taquitos


1 (8-oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
½ cup ranch dressing
½ cup Buffalo sauce
1 rotisserie chicken, shredded
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
24 flour tortillas, fajita size
Nonstick cooking spray


Preheat oven to 450° F. Combine cream cheese, ranch dressing and Buffalo sauce in large bowl until smooth. Stir in chicken and shredded cheese.

Divide mixture evenly on 24 tortillas and spread down the middle of each. Tightly roll up each taquito. Coat baking pan with nonstick cooking spray and place the rolled taquitos seam-side down next to one another. Spray the tops with nonstick cooking spray. Bake 10 minutes, then flip each taquito and bake 5 more minutes. Cool 5 minutes before serving.

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