Real Estate Seller's Guide

Selling Real Estate in New Jersey

  • Through our affiliation with on-site mortgage loan offices, Gloria Nilson & Co. Real Estate has the ability to provide customers with point-of-sale mortgage approval - a distinct advantage when closing on a loan.
  • Our Corporate Marketing Department operates as a complete in-house agency providing tailored marketing assistance and support. Some of the services provided include: advertising, public relations, collateral materials development, direct mail, and special events.
  • Our relocation division maintains active contact with major employers and relocation management firms to generate a steady stream of qualified transferees.
  • Through our unique Luxury Properties Collection, we offer the highest quality marketing that caters to the buyers and sellers of premium properties on a regional, national, and worldwide level. Customized property brochures, national Internet marketing, and advertising in regional and national publications are among the ways we showcase high-end properties to the more sophisticated consumer.

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National, Regional, and Local Print Advertising

Gloria Nilson & Co. Real Estate reaches local and regional markets through aggressive, targeted advertising. Using local publications, we provide our clients excellent visibility to properly showcase and market their properties. Additionally, this exposure is expanded and reinforced through our regional print advertising program using publications such as The New York Times, The Star Ledger, The Asbury Park Press, Princeton Packet, Trenton Times, and other major regional papers.

Beyond local and regional advertising exposure, when showcasing high-end properties, Gloria Nilson & Co. Real Estate adds significant reach and influence with publications like The Wall Street Journal, The duPont Registry, Luxury Real Estate Magazine, Robb Report's Home & Style, in addition to other highly regarded periodicals.

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Critical Elements of the Real Estate Sale

1. Listing price
This is the number-one factor in the sale of your home. Our sales and marketing programs provide exposure to a large segment of potential buyers. The actual market value is then determined by what a buyer is willing to pay.

2. Property location
The second most important factor in the buyer's mind is location. The proximity to area amenities and schools is typically a concern. In addition, street traffic, proximity to expressways and public transportation are considerations.

3. Property condition
Buyers look at the structural and mechanical integrity as well as the upkeep and cosmetic appeal of a property. Neutral décor, including floor and wall coverings, appliances and fixtures, offers the broadest appeal to potential buyers.

4. Market conditions
Interest rates, competition from other properties, the economy and consumer confidence all influence the sale of your home. Each of these factors is beyond our control, so we must respond to these conditions with the appropriate marketing and price considerations.

5. Contract terms
The terms of a sale can make or break the contract. House sale contingencies, closing dates, and exclusions of accessories or fixtures should always be handled clearly up front in order to avoid any confusion that could affect the sale.

6. Marketing
When the advertising exposure and positioning are done correctly, your home will sell more quickly and will command a higher price. Pay close attention to how your home is showcased in an advertisement, the publications in which it appears, ad the frequency with which the advertisement appears. Aggressive internet exposure is also essential.

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Positioning Your Home In The Marketplace

The pricing triangle represents all of the potential buyers in the market for a given home. The higher your asking price is on the triangle, the lower the percentage of buyers who will be interested in purchasing it. As the asking price increases toward the peak of the triangle, the number of potential buyers who are willing to pay a premium price for the home declines, until the price is so high that no prospects are attracted at all.

As the asking price declines toward the base of the triangle, the home is perceived to be a "bargain" and the number of potential buyers increases.

Ideally, you should price your home in the range of actual fair market value. Your sales associate can help you determine this range with a Comparative Market Analysis. Setting a fair asking price helps you obtain the maximum selling price for your home.

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Couldn't We Try This Price For A Couple Of Weeks?

Sales agents are constantly on the alert for new properties to show their active, qualified buyer. As a result, the majority of showings by sales agents on a new listing occurs when the house is first places on the market.

Once the group of agents and buyers has seen the property, showing activity decreases to only those buyers new to the market. Therefore, it is important to position your home at the best price during the first market exposure.

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The Drawbacks Of An Overpriced Property

Sellers may think that an overpriced property can simply be reduced if it doesn't sell. The danger with this approach is that by the time the property is finally reduced to its market value, it may have been on the market so long that buyers perceive it to be a tainted property. Buyers then question how long the home has been on the market and why it hasn't sold. Their offer to purchase, based on that knowledge, may be below its actual value.

As real estate professionals, we use market research to arrive at an initial price that is both realistic and fair to you as the seller, but also attractive to buyers. This pricing process takes into account a number of key factors that include the property location and condition, and the market history and current activity.

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First Impressions Are Important

The Approach

When a Realtor arrives at the home with a potential buyer, the first few seconds can literally make or break a sale. Make certain that the lawn, sidewalk, and landscaping are neat and attractive. In cold weather, the walkways should be clear of snow and ice.

The Entry

The front entry area and front door should be warm and inviting. The area should be swept clean, and the door in good repair (painted, if necessary). A seasonally decorative touch can set the proper inviting tone.

The Windows

Clean and sparkling windows help to maximize light entering the home. Keep curtains and window coverings open, whenever possible, to achieve a bright, open effect.

The Surroundings

Faded or worn paint and wallpaper can create a drab effect throughout the interior. Spruce up, paint up, and touch up.

The Furnishings

A cluttered look will make a room seem smaller than it really is. Remove extra furnishings wherever possible to give your home a clean, simple appearance. Remember, the buyer is trying to visualize how their furniture will fit in the home. Make it as easy as possible.


One of the first things a typical buyer looks for is adequate closet and storage space. Maximize the size of your closets by removing excess items and neatly arranging the remaining items.

Bathrooms & Kitchen

These are the most important rooms and should be clean and spotless. Potential buyers will invariably downgrade the desirability of a home if the kitchen and baths are less than spotless. Make sure everything shines!

Fix The Little Things

Loose door knobs, doors that don't close all the way, screens off the track, and cracked window panes are all a part of everyday life except when you're selling your home. Little things undone can suggest neglect. To maximize your home's value, it's smart to fix these items.

Shed Light On Dark Areas

Whenever possible, make sure lamps are on in areas of the house that are dark. Also, turn lights on in the basement, attic, and other areas a buyer will want to see.

Once the above items have been addressed, leave the selling to the agent. Agents know what your house has to offer and what a buyer is looking for. Agents also know how to sell. We recommend that sellers excuse themselves during showings so that the perspective buyers feel comfortable discussing the property.

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Your Checklist For Moving

Send Change of Address to:

  • Post Office: Give forwarding address
  • Charge Accounts, Credit Cards
  • Subscriptions: Notice requires several weeks
  • Relatives and Friends

Don't Forget:

  • Bank: Transfer funds, arrange check cashing in new city
  • Insurance: Notify new location for coverage - life, health, fire, auto
  • Automobile Registration: Transfer of car title registration if necessary; also, driver's license, city windshield sticker, motor club membership
  • Utility Companies: Gas, light, water, telephone, fuel: get refund of deposits; arrange for immediate service of new location.
  • Route Deliveries: Change over of services for water, laundry, newspaper
  • School Records: ask for copies or transfer children's records
  • Medical, Dental, Prescription Histories: Ask doctor and dentist for referrals, transfer needed prescriptions, eyeglasses, x-rays
  • Church, Club, Civic Organizations: Transfer memberships, get letter of introduction
  • Pets: Ask about regulations for licenses, vaccinations

Be Sure To:

  • Plan for special care needs of infants and children
  • Empty freezer and plan use of foods
  • Defrost freezer/refrigerator. Place charcoal inside to dispel orders
  • Have appliances serviced for moving
  • Clean rugs or clothing and have them wrapped for moving
  • With your mover, check insurance coverage, packing and unpacking labor, arrival day, various shipping papers, method, and time of expected payment

On Moving Day:

  • Carry currency, jewelry and documents yourself or use registered mail
  • Plan for transporting pets
  • Carry traveler's checks for quick, available funds
  • Let close friends or relatives know route and schedule you will travel, including overnight tops; use them as a message headquarters
  • Double-check closets, drawers, shelves to be sure they are empty
  • Leave all keys for new tenant or owner with agent or Realtor.

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Top Ten Tips to Win On the Sell Side

10. Use a professional real estate agent to help you!

9. Price it right. Set a price at the lower end of your property's realistic price range. A home will never sell for more than the market will bear, so overpricing will only result in no offers.

8. Organize and clean. Pare down clutter and pack up your least-used items, such as large blenders and other kitchen tools, out-of-season clothes, toys, and exercise equipment. Store items off-site or in boxes neatly arranged in the garage or basement. Clean the windows, carpets, walls, lighting fixtures, and baseboards to make the house shine.

7. Spruce up the curb appeal. Pretend you're a buyer and stand outside of your home. As you approach the front door, what is your impression of the property? Do the lawn and bushes look neatly manicured? Is the address clearly visible? Are pretty flowers or plants framing the entrance? Is the walkway free from cracks and impediments?

6. Stage your home. Get your house market ready before you begin showing it. Homes that are professionally staged typically sell for more than homes that are not.

5. Have a pre-sale home inspection. Be proactive by arranging for a pre-sale home inspection. An inspector will be able to give you a good indication of the trouble areas that will stand out to potential buyers, and you'll be able to make repairs before showings begin.

4. Be flexible about showings. The more amenable you can be about letting people see your home, the sooner you'll find a buyer. In today's market, if it's hard to show it's off the list!

3. Don't refuse to drop the price. If your home has been on the market for more than 30 days without an offer, you should be prepared to at least consider lowering your asking price.

2. Find your warranties and permits. Gather up the warranties, guarantees, and user manuals for the furnace, washer and dryer, dishwasher, and any other items that will remain with the house. Also find any permits you got for work done – you will need them to close!

1. Remember that if you are also buying right now you are "winning" on the buy side by buying at the bottom of the market…any "loss" you may experience on the sell side you will make up when you buy. It's the GAP that counts!

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Five Things To Do Before Putting Your Home On The Market

1. Have a pre-sale home inspection. Be proactive! An inspector will be able to give you a good indication of the trouble areas that will stand out to potential buyers, and you'll be able to make repairs before putting your home on the market. This will help you get the highest price possible for your home, because the buyers will not be able to justify a lower offer!

2. Organize and clean. Pare down clutter and pack up your least-used and out-of-season items, such as large blenders and other kitchen tools, out-of-season clothes, toys, and exercise equipment. Store items off-site or in boxes neatly arranged in the garage or basement. Clean the windows, carpets, walls, lighting fixtures, and baseboards to make the house shine.

3. Get replacement estimates. Do you have big-ticket items that are worn out or will need to be replaced soon, such as your roof or carpeting? Get estimates on how much it would cost to replace them, even if you don't plan to do it yourself. The figures will help buyers determine if they can afford the home, and will be handy when negotiations begin.

4. Find your warranties. Gather up the warranties, guarantees, and user manuals for the furnace, washer and dryer, dishwasher, permits for work that was done, and any other items that will remain with the house.

5. Spruce up the curb appeal. Pretend you're a buyer and stand outside of your home. As you approach the front door, what is your impression of the property? Do the lawn and bushes look neatly manicured? Is the address clearly visible? Are pretty flowers or plants framing the entrance? Is the walkway free from cracks and impediments?

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Low-Cost Ways to Spruce Up Your Home's Exterior

Make your home more appealing for yourself and potential buyers with these quick and easy tips:

1. Trim bushes so they don’t block windows or architectural details.

2. Mow your lawn, and turn on the sprinklers for 30 minutes before the showing to make the lawn sparkle.

3. Put a pot of bright flowers (or a small evergreen in winter) on your porch.

4. Install new doorknobs on your front door.

5. Repair any cracks in the driveway.

6. Edge the grass around walkways and trees.

7. Keep your garden tools and hoses out of sight.

8. Clear toys from the lawn.

9. Buy a new mailbox.

10. Upgrade your outside lighting.

11. Buy a new doormat for the outside of your front door.

12. Clean your windows, inside and outside.

13. Polish or replace your house numbers.

14. Place a seasonal wreath on your door.

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Simple Tips for Better Home Showings

1. Remove clutter and clear off counters. Throw out stacks of newspapers and magazines and stow away most of your small decorative items. Put excess furniture in storage, and remove out-of-season clothing items that are cramping closet space. Don't forget to clean out the garage, too.

2. Wash your windows and screens. This will help get more light into the interior of the home.

3. Keep everything extra clean. A clean house will make a strong first impression and send a message to buyers that the home has been well-cared for. Wash fingerprints from light switch plates, mop and wax floors, and clean the stove and refrigerator. Polish your doorknobs and address numbers. It's worth hiring a cleaning service if you can afford it.

4. Get rid of smells. Clean carpeting and drapes to eliminate cooking odors, smoke, and pet smells. Open the windows to air out the house. Potpourri or scented candles will help.

5. Brighten your rooms. Put higher wattage bulbs in light fixtures to brighten up rooms and basements. Replace any burned-out bulbs in closets. Clean the walls, or better yet, brush on a fresh coat of neutral color paint.

6. Don't disregard minor repairs. Small problems such as sticky doors, torn screens, cracked caulking, or a dripping faucet may seem trivial, but they'll give buyers the impression that the house isn't well-maintained.

7. Tidy your yard. Cut the grass, rake the leaves, add new mulch, trim the bushes, edge the walkways, and clean the gutters. For added curb appeal, place a pot of bright flowers near the entryway.

8. Patch holes. Repair any holes in your driveway and reapply sealant, if applicable.

9. Add a touch of color in the living room. A colored afghan or throw on the couch will jazz up a dull room. Buy new accent pillows for the sofa.

10. Buy a flowering plant and put it near a window you pass by frequently.

11. Make centerpieces for your tables. Use brightly colored fruit or flowers.

12. Set the scene. Set the table with fancy dishes and candles, and create other vignettes throughout the home to help buyers picture living there. For example, in the basement you might display a chess game in progress.

13. Replace heavy curtains with sheer ones that let in more light. Show off the view if you have one.

14. Accentuate the fireplace. Lay fresh logs in the fireplace or put a basket of flowers there if it's not in use.

15. Make the bathrooms feel luxurious. Put away those old towels and toothbrushes. When buyers enter your bathroom, they should feel pampered. Add a new shower curtain, new towels, and fancy guest soaps. Make sure your personal toiletry items are out of sight.

16. Send your pets to a neighbor or take them outside. If that's not possible, crate them or confine them to one room (ideally in the basement), and let the real estate practitioner know where they'll be to eliminate surprises.

17. Lock up valuables, jewelry, and money. While a real estate salesperson will be on site during the showing or open house, it's impossible to watch everyone all the time.

18. Leave the home. It's usually best if the sellers are not at home. It's awkward for prospective buyers to look in your closets and express their opinions of your home with you there.

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8 Reasons Why You Should Work With a REALTOR®

Not all real estate practitioners are REALTORS®. The term REALTOR® is a registered trademark that identifies a real estate professional who is a member of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION of REALTORS® and subscribes to its strict Code of Ethics. Here are five reasons why it pays to work with a REALTOR®.

1. Navigate a complicated process. Buying or selling a home usually requires disclosure forms, inspection reports, mortgage documents, insurance policies, deeds, and multipage settlement statements. A knowledgeable expert will help you prepare the best deal, and avoid delays or costly mistakes.

2. Information and opinions. REALTORS® can provide local community information on utilities, zoning, schools, and more. They'll also be able to provide objective information about each property. A professional will be able to help you answer these two important questions: Will the property provide the environment I want for a home or investment? Second, will the property have resale value when I am ready to sell?

3. Help finding the best property out there. Sometimes the property you are seeking is available but not actively advertised in the market, and it will take some investigation by your REALTOR® to find all available properties.

4. Negotiating skills. There are many negotiating factors, including but not limited to price, financing, terms, date of possession, and inclusion or exclusion of repairs, furnishings, or equipment. In addition, the purchase agreement should provide a period of time for you to complete appropriate inspections and investigations of the property before you are bound to complete the purchase. Your agent can advise you as to which investigations and inspections are recommended or required.

5. Property marketing power. Real estate doesn't sell due to advertising alone. In fact, a large share of real estate sales comes as the result of a practitioner's contacts through previous clients, referrals, friends, and family. When a property is marketed with the help of a REALTOR®, you do not have to allow strangers into your home. Your REALTOR® will generally prescreen and accompany qualified prospects through your property.

6. Someone who speaks the language. If you don't know a CMA from a PUD, you can understand why it's important to work with a professional who is immersed in the industry and knows the real estate language.

7. Experience. Most people buy and sell only a few homes in a lifetime, usually with quite a few years in between each purchase. Even if you have done it before, laws and regulations change. REALTORS®, on the other hand, handle hundreds of real estate transactions over the course of their career. Having an expert on your side is critical.

8. Objective voice. A home often symbolizes family, rest, and security — it's not just four walls and a roof. Because of this, homebuying and selling can be an emotional undertaking. And for most people, a home is the biggest purchase they'll every make. Having a concerned, but objective, third party helps you stay focused on both the emotional and financial issues most important to you.

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Recycling Dos and Don'ts

Each community has their own regulations on what can be recycled and what cannot. Always check with your community recycling program to see what’s ok before you start. We've found that, in most communities, the following recycling dos and don’ts usually apply.

OK to Recycle:

  • High-quality plastics labeled with number one and two recycling symbols.
  • Food and beverage containers, such as milk, soda, water, salad dressings, etc.
  • Jars and canisters, like peanut butter jars, soap, aspirin bottles, etc.
  • Cleaning products and detergents, including bleach, soap, shampoo, drain cleaners, etc.
  • Automotive and yard care products, but make sure the containers are empty for those like antifreeze, oil, plant food and herbicide containers.
  • Junk or direct mail, including brochures, fliers, white/light envelopes, etc.
  • Aluminum, tin and steel cans, such as soda, beer, tuna, vegetable, etc.
  • Printed paper like newspaper, magazines, phone books, legal pads, etc.

NOT OK to Recycle:

  • Plastic bags
  • Newspaper delivery bags
  • Styrofoam
  • Lids from glass containers
  • Pizza boxes
  • Phone books
  • Mirrors
  • Aerosol cans
  • Paint cans
  • Wax paper
  • Food-soiled paper
  • Window glass
  • Ceramics
  • Light bulbs
  • Microwaveable food trays
  • Other types of plastic not labeled as CA Redemption Value or CA Cash Refund, including, household cleaners, cough syrup, shampoo bottles, condiment bottles, cosmetic containers, ketchup bottles, yogurt cups, deli product containers, egg cartons, disposable cups, ready-made lunch containers, etc.

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Green on a Budget

  • Switch to Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs. Even changing just the five most frequently-used bulbs in your house can save you $100 or more per year!
  • Install low-flow shower heads or place a water-displacement bag in your toilet tank to cut down on water waste.
    Buy local produce. This cuts down on paper and plastic packaging waste and also reduces the amount of fossil fuels used in the transportation of products.
  • Set your thermostat to 78° or higher in the summer and 62° or lower in the winter to save $100 or more on your energy bill each year.
  • Drive less by walking, biking or taking the bus. Initiate a carpool for trips to and from work, school or other activities.
  • Utilize power strips and cut down on “vampire electricity,” which is the electricity used while appliances and electronics are plugged into an outlet, but not in use. By flipping the “off” switch on a power strip, you’ll quickly put a stop to this.
  • Incorporate native plants into your yard. They’re more adapted to local soil and climate and will thrive with minimal care – meaning less water, fertilizer and pesticides used for maintenance.
  • Let your grass grow. Most varieties fare best at two and a half inches tall, absorbing more sunlight and creating thicker turf, meaning less water needed for your lawn.
  • Do full loads of laundry and dishes as a way to save gallons of wasted water every week. And use cold water whenever possible

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Green Lifestyle

  • Invest in a water filter. It’s a much greener (and cheaper!) choice than buying and discarding plastic water bottles. Just think about this next time you’re in the bottled water aisle: it takes approximately 1,000 years for water bottles to biodegrade.
  • Bring your own bag to the store instead of using their provided plastic bags. If you must use a plastic bag, think of a way to reuse it as a trash bag for your bathroom waste can or for collecting pet droppings from the yard.
  • Wash and reuse plastic plates and cups instead of buying and throwing away paper or Styrofoam every time you have a barbeque, picnic or party.
  • Bring your own mug every time you go get coffee. Being green is even trendier than toting around that branded cardboard cup.
  • Pay bills and bank online. Just think how much paper you’ll save, not to mention the money you’ll save on stamps.
  • Start a compost pile in your backyard. Alternate layers of garden waste and food scraps with thin layers of soil and stir every one to three weeks. One the pile turns dark and crumbly, work into your garden or lawn as a conditioner.
  • Carpool or use public transportation whether you’re traveling to work, school or shopping.
  • Utilize the sun when you want to light your home during the day. Open blinds and let the sun shine in instead of flipping on the light switch in every room of the house..
  • Get involved in a local club that promotes green awareness, sets up community recycling programs and interacts with government officials when it comes to environmental legislation. Not only will you do your part for the environment, but you’ll also meet new and interesting people!

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Green for Sellers

Green for Sellers

For green, low-cost solutions to add value to your home, consider the following:

  • Add tankless water heaters. They avoid the standby heat losses associated with storage water heaters, meaning you won't have to wait for hot water.
  • Use recycled insulation in attics and walls. Buyers will love the idea of conserving resources and cutting down on energy costs by keeping in warm air.
  • Install water reclamation systems to use the leftover "gray water" from household use for the yard and garden.
  • Utilize green landscaping with recycled, bio-degradable products and little to no fertilizer and pesticide. Your yard will draw buyers in by being cleaner, safer and more naturally beautiful.
  • Show your home tastefully. A clothes line is a good way to save energy, but may look tacky during a showing. Instead, highlight the hooks and lines available for a clothesline, minus the hanging clothes.
  • Leave energy-efficient appliances for future owners. This could be the selling point for buyers looking to cut down on energy bills.
  • Seal windows with weather stripping or caulk to plug air leaks, and show your buyers how airtight they really are

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Green at the Office

  • Organize electronically. Stop printing out e-mails, and try to save documents on CDs or flash drives to cut down on printing and paper.
  • Use recycled or chlorine-free paper in printers and fax machines. Also, program these machines to print on both sides of paper when using.
  • Use soy-based ink in printers, instead of petroleum-based, whenever practical.
  • Update mailing lists often to eliminate incorrect addresses and wasted paper.
  • Keep a recycling bin in every office or at every workstation.
  • Choose vendors who use renewable energy, or urge your current vendors to do so.
  • Don’t use screensavers on your computer monitor. These actually use more energy than setting your computer to “sleep” after a few minutes without use.
  • Perform an audit of your company’s environmental practices. You can use an outside company or a university professor of environmental studies, either will offer you suggestions on how to operate more greenly.
  • Recycle your cans, plastic and glass.

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Green Cleaning

Levels of pollutants in indoor air can be from two to more than 100 times higher than outdoors, according to the U.S. EPA. That indoor pollution is due in large part to volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that evaporate, or "offgas," from home decorating and cleaning products. Make sure you’re breathing quality air in your home by following these green cleaning suggestions:

  • Look for plant oils in detergents, rather than petroleum - coconut oil is a good choice. Eucalyptus, rosemary and sage oils are also safer choices than triclosan when it comes to disinfectants.
  • Use fragrance-free laundry detergents, which don’t contain cancer-causing phthalates.
  • Mix your own stain removers. Soak stains in water mixed with borax, lemon juice, hydrogen peroxide, washing soda or white vinegar.
  • Open a window! If the air is clean outside, it’s a greener way to freshen up a room than by using aerosol air fresheners.
  • Baking soda and vinegar get the green light as all-around cleaning alternatives. They can do anything from deodorizing to cleaning the oven or removing stains on countertops, bathtubs and toilet bowls.
  • For sparkling drinking glasses, occasionally soak them in a solution of vinegar and water.
  • Use the dishwasher – hand washing dishes actually wastes more water. Adding one cup of white vinegar to your dishwasher’s rinse compartment will leave your dishes spot free.
  • Skip the antibacterial, antimicrobial soaps. The FDA has found that these work no better than good old soap and water. Plus, they could even add to the risk of breeding “super germs,” bacteria that survive the chemicals we use and have resistant offspring.
  • Don’t throw out your old cleaning products. What’s bad for your home is also bad for drains and landfills, so check to see if your community holds toxic and electronics recycling days and discard them there. If your community doesn’t have a program yet, start one!

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