Our Blog

Last Minute Vacation? 6 Ways to Prepare Your Home Before You Leave

Posted on: August 24, 2018

Vacations are all about relaxing. The last thing anyone wants to come home to is a mess or worse, theft. By preparing your home before you leave, the risk of accidents or burglary will be greatly reduced. Follow these tips before hitting the road for a truly care-free getaway.

1. Give the impression someone is home:

  • Park your car in the garage (if available) and ask a neighbor to park their car in your driveway occasionally.
  • Have a neighbor collect your mail, packages and newspapers or have delivery paused.
  • Use a timer to turn on lights in the home regularly.
  • Mow your lawn before leaving or have someone cut the grass while gone.


2. Protect your home against criminal activity:

  • Install a motion activated sensor on an outside floodlight.
  • Make sure all windows, doors, and gates are locked.
  • Remove all spare keys from any hidden exterior spots and bring them inside.
  • Set your security alarm and monitor security devices.


3. Set your thermostat:

Make sure you program your thermostat to keep your home at a safe temperature range. The ideal temperature range to keep the home when on vacation is 82-85 degrees in the summer and 60-65 degrees in the winter. This will keep your home and humidity levels comfortable without wasting energy (and money) while you’re gone.

4. Unplug electronics and small appliances:

Unplug electronics like TVs, computers, kitchen appliances, etc. to prevent excess power usage and to reduce the risk of an electrical fire.

5. Check your water and plumbing:

Turn off the water valves to the washing machine, dishwasher, sinks and toilets to prevent accidental leaks or ruptures. Shut off the water heater or put it in “vacation mode”.

6. General home preparation:

  • Take out the trash before going on the trip.
  • Leave closet doors open to prevent musty air.
  • Go through your fridge and cabinets and throw away items that will go bad while you’re gone. Clean the refrigerator and place an open box of baking soda in the fridge to absorb odors.
  • Notify your credit card company and your security company (if you have one) that you’ll be going on vacation.
  • Make sure to leave your emergency contact information with a neighbor.
  • Have a neighbor water your plants and check on your home.


Source: www.servicemasterrestore.com

Winter is Coming, Prepare in the Summer

Posted on: August 16, 2018

With heat waves and beach trips still to come, it’s hard to believe colder months are right around the corner. Before you know it flip flops and sand shovels will be replaced with scarves and snow blowers. While vacation mode is in full swing, taking the time to prepare for winter could save your family and home from winter woes. Here’s how to get started.

1. Snow Plow Service Lists

Make sure to get your name on the snow-plow contractors list. Reach out to your neighbors to pitch in on a private company. By prepping now, you’ll have more options to choose from as schedules start to fill up fast come fall.

2. Schedule Your Furnace Service

With temperatures in the 90s, the last thing on anyone’s mind is heating the home. However, this is the perfect time to schedule service on your home furnace. Ask your HVAC company for a twice-a-year maintenance plan. If something does need to be repaired, you’ll have plenty of time to get the work completed before you need it. Giving you the opportunity to save money for the repair or find the best deal. HVAC companies often give discounted rates for larger repairs!

3. Schedule a Professional Energy Audit

Schedule a professional energy audit now. A professional audit will save you money and you will learn where your home is prone to energy loss. Check out energy.gov for info on how both professional and DIY energy audits work. You can also find energy auditors through the Residential Energy Services Network at resnet.us.

4. Plant a Tree!

Enjoy working in the garden but worried about the impending frost? Late summer, early fall is surprisingly the best time of year to plant trees. Planting them now provides adequate time for trees to establish roots before summer next year. Not only are trees beneficial to the environment, they increase the value of your home! Live in a Philly zip code? You can get one for free. Take a look at treephilly.org for more info.


Source: Kelley Walters/Houselogic.com


Posted on: August 2, 2018

EWR welcomes the following REALTORS to our brokerage:

Karen Carrero

I am a long time lover of all things house & home! I’ve dreamed of becoming a Realtor for most of my adult life & am happy to have finally checked that box. I am also a mother to a very enthusiastic 15 year old that keeps me motivated and grounded.

David Evans

I am excited to be welcomed to the Elfant Wissahickon team. I am a city dweller who prefers to bike over drive and prefers a book over a sitcom. I am a proud bicentennial who practices yoga daily & still plays basketball.

Jason DeMarco

It’s an absolute honor to assist my clients with their home search or the tasks required to sell their home. Whether you’re a first time home buyer, investor or have purchased and sold many homes, I take a “hands on” approach to provide a comprehensive plan to address and meet my client’s needs.

Eric Moore

A founding partner at TLA Video (where I was intimately involved in our many real estate projects), I bring my passion for all the beautiful, interesting and quirky spaces in our city to the work we do here at Elfant Wissahickon. I have lived for 24 years in Fairmount with my wife, Rachel and our teenage son, Dylan.

Alison Carey

I have been living in Fairmount for just over three years, and absolutely love this city! After beginning my career in non-profit management, I officially made the transition to Real Estate in March. I’m thrilled to be working with the Adams Group as both an Agent and Transaction Manager.

Kalyn Matthews

I come to Real Estate after many years as a Flight Attendant. I enjoy Interior Design, custom painting and property renovation. I currently work for a Home Staging Company.

George Case

I’ve been a residential real estate agent for six years, currently with Halstead Property Llc in Manhattan, and recently acquired my reciprocal license for Pennsylvania. I moved to Philadelphia three years ago to Elfreth’s Alley and opened a home store, 36 Craven on 3rd Street in Old City last year.

Gabriel Fellus

With past experience in construction and development, I am joining Elfant Wissahickon as part of Shauli David’s team. I am really excited to help my clients reach their goals in a city I am so passionate about.

Irene Lobron

​Growing up in Chestnut Hill, I developed a love for the charming, historic homes and buildings throughout Philadelphia. I have enjoyed my time helping agents on the Elfant Wissahickon team with administrative and social media work over the past year, and am so excited to be joining them as a realtor myself!

As the leading independent real estate brokerage in the Philadelphia region, EWR is committed to provide superior service and maintaining the highest of ethical standards. We do this in a friendly and supportive environment that encourages entrepreneurship and individuality. If you would like to join us and become a part of EWR, check out our careers page: ewrhomes.com/careers

Billboard #refresh : Your Vision. Your Priorities. Our Expertise.

Posted on: July 20, 2018

Billboard #refresh : Your Vision. Your Priorities. Our Expertise.

#ewrhomes #ourexpertise #philadelphia #montco #buckscounty#delawarecounty #chestercounty #realestate #people #home #residential#commercial

Real Estate, Real People: Sock-it to Hunter Syndrome

Posted on: June 21, 2018

Realtor Denise Chapline‘s beautiful grandson Ethan was born with a rare genetic disease called Hunter Syndrome.

Doctors at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio have conducted research that leads them to believe that a cure for Hunter Syndrome (MPS II) has been discovered. Doctors there have conducted years of research and are relying on parent-led organizations to raise the $750,000 needed to carry the drug development process through clinical trials. Human clinical trials involve administering the drug in a controlled environment to gather data on efficacy. This is usually done before making the drug available to all affected patients.

If all deadlines are met, Dr. Fu and Dr. McCarty hope to start clinical trials by end of Summer 2018.

Sock-it 2 Hunter Syndrome is a foundation dedicated to fundraising for research and development towards finding a cure for MPSII, aiming to not only find a cure for Hunter Syndrome, but to fund research for improved treatment options.

For more information, visit:




Building Community – A Chat with Katey McGrath, Director of Operations & Partner

Posted on: April 10, 2018

Do you volunteer or financially support a non-profit or charitable organization (if more than one, pick one)?

The Philadelphia Public School Notebook

What makes this organization special to you?

It’s an independent news organization covering the Philadelphia School District. I believe that our city needs an independent voice, working for quality, and equality, in our public schools.

I became involved with the Notebook’s board because the battleground for the fight for racial and social justice is public education, and the Notebook is an important ally, helping to create a culture of accountability.

I continue to work with the Notebook because it is an incredibly professional and hard-working organization at the center of a community that cares about the health of our public school system, the contributions of teachers and families, and the success of its students.

Do you volunteer your time or make regular donations of funds or goods?

Lots of time! I’m currently serving as the Chair of the Board of Directors. My family proudly makes a gift to the Notebook each year.

Do you host or plan fundraisers or events?

Yes, regularly – we host small events for members, house parties to raise awareness (and funds), and an annual event to celebrate the Notebook and honor student journalist and public education advocates.

Are you on its board or a committee?

Before I was Chair, I was Co-Chair, Vice-chair; I’ve served on the Personnel Committee, Finance Committee, and Governance Committee.

What is your favorite thing about the organization?

I’m so proud of our staff and the content they produce. It’s the only place in Philadelphia where you can go for truly in-depth analysis on really complex education issues. Its credibility and integrity are inspiring to me.

When did you start volunteering?


What made you support the organization?

I learned of the Notebook after completing the Young Involved Philadelphia’s Board Prep program (I highly recommend it for any young professional looking to get involved with a non-profit!).

Describe the organization in 3 words!

Equity, Quality, Impact

How can someone get involved?

Go to thenotebook.org, subscribe to our mailing list, like us on Facebook, and become a member!

To contact Katey, call 215-247-3600 or email katey@elfantwissahickon.com
Visit Katey’s Homepage here


8 Annual Maintenance Tips

Posted on: December 20, 2017

You do the basic maintenance that comes with home ownership. Are you sure you are doing everything that needs to be done?

We have 8 annual maintenance tips that are easily forgotten. Following them could not only save you a lot of money, but also a lot of time and trouble.

1. Salt your water softener
It’s important to salt the water softener with salt pellets or solar salt, which you can easily buy at any home maintenance stores. The salt used in the tank of a water softener does not directly soften the water, it is used to regenerate the resin beads in your water softener. These actually soften the water from your well by removing the hard water ions, calcium, magnesium and iron.

Skipping regular maintenance could cause irreversible damage which would let mineral build up inside the unit. If this would happen, you would have to replace the hot water heater.

2. Test your well water
It can be a great benefit to have your own well. Make sure to test your well water every year to prevent any health issues, since in-ground water is subject to all sorts of contaminants. Shallow wells can even require more frequent testing.  Many municipalities offer free water screening. If your municipality does not offer those free water screenings, you can always send samples to a nearby lab for analysis. Keep in mind that it’s for your own health!

3. Update your disaster kit
Every household needs a disaster kit with all important essentials in case of an emergency. It could happen any time that you are without power for a few days and you would always want to be prepared. It does not take much to be prepared properly- essential supplies include a first-aid kit, a 3-day supply of nonperishable food, plenty of water, flashlights, printed maps, and a whistle.

Make sure to inspect your disaster kit once a year. Check the expiration dates of all your food, look for broken seals, and full batteries for flashlights.  Here’s a list of basic disaster supplies  https://www.ready.gov/build-a-kit. It is important to have a full stock of all items on the list- you never know when a disaster might occur.

4. Know your humidity
It’s very important to know your humidity level. High humidity can cause mildew and black mold which can even cause structural damage. Humidity is an early warning sign of future problems. Make sure to check your humidity levels at least once a year with a hygrometer.

Even if the hygrometer reading shows a low humidity, it can still be dangerous and cause sore throats and itchiness and eventually damage the house. It could happen that wood cracks, paint chips, and electronic devices could be permanently be damaged. Humidity levels that fall between 30 and 50 % are recommended.

5. Check for termites
One very important task is to check for termites. You should start inspecting the exterior and interior surfaces of the foundation, particularly construction where wood is on or near soil.

You could hire a pest control service and be on the safe side! A termite inspector looks for visible signs of termite infestation, including wood damage, mud tubes, discarded wings, termite exit holes and termite droppings. Inspectors also look for moisture issues and wood-to-ground contract that can be conducive to termite activity. An annual termite inspection is typically less than $100 and could save you thousands of dollars.

6. Take a photo
It’s always a good idea to snap a shot of your house. Take a picture of the exterior of your home in it’s current state. You’ll be astonished over the years, by how much your home has evolved.

7. Save 1% of the home’s value
The golden rule is to save 1% of the home’s value each year to cover any maintenance expenses to keep the home in it’s shipshape condition. (Example: You are purchasing a home for $250,000, you should save $2,500 each year to cover any maintenance expenses)

You should take some time and investigate your bank accounts. This can help you to stay out of a lot of financial trouble if you suddenly need a new roof, a new foundation, etc. Make sure to save the bare minimum of the recommended 1% home value because everything could go wrong when you least expect it.

8. Create a donation pile
It wood be a good idea to do a deep dive into your closets, bookshelves, drawers, garage, etc. and toss or donate anything you haven’t touched in the past year. You will be surprised of how much unnecessary stuff has piled up that don’t need anymore. Someone else would be very happy about your donation and you’ll be happy to have a lot of newly empty space.

As mentioned at ​https://www.realtor.com/advice/home-improvement/homeowner-maintenance-tasks/