Blog :: 2009

Holiday Fun; Giving at Hickok and Boardman Realty!

Is it just me or did the holidays sneak right up on us this year?! We have holiday party #3 this afternoon at the Hickok & Boardman building. Last week our company President treated us all to a fabulous dinner at the Bearded Frog in Shelburne. Yesterday morning we enjoyed a scrumptious potluck brunch and Yankee Swap gift exchange which was a lot of fun! But this afternoon's party is special, because the Reilly Team hosts! We call it the 2nd Floor Christmas Party and although it's small and casual, you can't miss it! The Reilly Team and few other real estate agents sit on the 2nd floor of our 6-story building in Burlington and Geri and team provide the drinks while others who's desks reside the 2nd floor, bring the appetizers. We all squish together in the 2nd floor lobby just outside the elevator and restrooms, wear tacky Christmas jewelry and socialize with friends and colleagues. Although small, the party area is fully decorated and has a warm feel to it!  The Reilly Team just loves the holidays! And so does our entire company -  it's tradition to participate in our trio of holiday parties every year!But, in addition to all of the festivities, our company also takes into consideration those who are less fortunate during this special time. Currently we are collecting gifts and various items for the Humane Society of Chittenden County and Toys for Kids. And after our huge brunch yesterday, we took all of the leftover food to our local homeless shelter, COTS.  Also, many real estate agents here at Hickok & Boardman contribute to a special cause or group on their own.  For instance, Geri Reilly and her husband Mike Simoneau, donate thousands of dollars every year to organizations such as Lund Family Center, Howard Center for Human Services, Boys & Girls Club, Sisters of Mercy, etc.  Without generous donations and/or volunteer contributions, many of these non-profit's would not survive! It is vital to our community to help support these social organizations. Please consider donating or volunteering your time to a local cause this holiday season so everyone can feel the love and festiveness this year!The Reilly Team and everyone at Hickok & Boardman Realty wishes everyone a safe, happy holiday and best of wishes in the new year!

Live United!

Every Fall, Hickok and Boardman's three divisions in real estate, insurance and financial planning - join forces to raise money for the United Way of Chittenden County. This year the theme is All for One, One for All. In the past, the H&B divisions competed to see who could raise the money for United Way. This year we decided to focus on all of our contributions as a whole and as of yesterday afternoon, we had raised over $35,000! Some of the events this week included a food drive, silent auction, 50/50 raffle and a soup competition. The campaign finale takes place this afternoon at Spare Time in Colchester, which means we're having a bowling tournament!! (Okay we had to have some competition this year!) The Reilly Team is up against at least four other real estate teams as well as other teams in the other two divisions and we are more than ready to bowl! And with Geri's love of the upcoming holiday season, our team will of course be sporting Santa hats on the alley!  As soon as the tournament is over and the silent auction closes, we'll have a better figure as to how much we raised total. Our goal this year was to raise close to $70,000 and we are well on the way! Live united!

Winter is Coming...is Your Home Ready?

Winter comes early here in Vermont and usually stays longer than most of us would like, but that's nature and we all make the best of it! Then there are some of us that love winter and can't wait for the snow to fall - well these Vermonters are in luck because snow showers are in the weather forecast for today and tomorrow! We've already had some snow in the higher elevations - Mt. Mansfield, Camel's Hump, etc. And apparently the ski guns are already starting to shoot out their  frozen water at some ski areas.  Bottom line is  Old Man Winter is  coming - are you ready?? More importantly...is your HOME ready?  Here are some helpful tips to keep your home green when it's white outside:

Change your furnace filter once a month to keep your furnace running more efficiently and keep the air in your home cleaner.  This can cut your heating costs by as much as 5 % !! You can buy a new filter at any local hardware store or at Lowe's where they have an entire webpage on their website to help you decide which filter is best for your furnace, home and budget. A new filter can reduce the dust in your home as well!

Don't block heat vents or radiators. Air will circulate better when unobstructed.

You can also make sure to keep your heating bills low by winterizing your windows, doors, attics and basements. Use weather-stripping around any older drafty windows and doors. Or if you've got some extra money and want to invest in your home, may decide to upgrade your windows. Most new Energy Star windows qualify for a federal tax credit for energy efficiency in which you can get up to $1500 of the cost credited to your tax return. For specifics on this visit Energy Star's website or ask a tax consultant. If you are seeing ice dams on your roof, you may have heat escaping from your attic causing snow to melt and freeze. This can affect your energy bills as well as risk serious damage to your roof. Insulate your attic! It's an easy do-it-yourself project! Remember the pink panther? Well he's the mascot for the Owens Corning brand and they have a lot of great advice on this simple home project. And insulating your attic (or basement) qualifies for a tax credit too!

Turn your water heater down to at least 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Trust me, the water will still be plenty warm enough for showering and dishwashing. Also, put some sort of  wrap or blanket around your water heater to keep heat from escaping. Here are some great tips for insulating your water heater from the U.S. Department of Energy. You can cut your water-heating costs by 6-10%  if you follow some of this advice!

Finally, when shoveling or plowing snow in your yard or driveway, be sure to keep your furnace exhaust system outlet free from snow or any other objects. This vent blows out carbon monoxide from your heating system. If it gets blocked CO2 can build up in your home and the only way you would know is if you have CO2 detectors because this deadly gas is completely odorless. In addition, make sure the batteries in your CO2 and fire detectors are charged and working properly.

Happy Winter!