Putting the Art in Artisan Realty

My broker, Dan Beirne, loves to paint and has this incredible art studio in Valley Forge in a barn dating back to the late 1700’s.  He has his agents over to the art studio a couple of times a year with wine and snacks and he leads a painting party.  It’s so much fun & we get to be creative.  He switched the name of his company from Dan Beirne Real Estate to Artisan Realty in 2013 because of his love for art.  Here is one of my paintings mid-artwork in class from last year:


Dan helped me freestyle this rowboat painting.


We had a beach scene painting party this last summer.  Here are my efforts:  Notice the whale!


A couple of years ago Dan surprised me with a painting of my ragdoll cat, Tag.


Here he is posing with it!



Christmas at Longwood Gardens 2016

Last night my husband and I visited Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square.  Here are some of the pictures and videos:

Pictures & Videos inside the conservatory.  Pictures outside of some of the lighting & one of the 3 fire pits.  Video of the floating trees on the lake and video of the open air theater fountain.  They also have 2 restaurants and yummy treats, beer and wine in an outside tent.

5 Home Improvement Ideas under $100

  1. Change brass door hardware.  If your home is more than 10 years chances are all the door hardware is the cheap brass builder’s grade door knob and hinges.  We changed ours out ourselves.  Here’s the oil rubbed bronze and the old brass.

    Here’s the kwikset door lever we used from Amazon for $29.09.  Click here.  Here are the hinges we used.  An 18 pack is $29.95.  Click here.  

  2. Dimmers.  Installing dimmers in your home so you can create mood lighting is great.  You can get dimmers for $10-$26.  Why not spend a little more and make it a smart home?  For $54.95 you can get a Lutron dimmer that works with Amazon Echo and you can control the lighting with voice activation or an app on your smart phone.  Check out the dimmers on Amazon.  Click here.  You can see how they work on my smart home tour video:  https://youtu.be/nqRaTLXCiz4?list=PLU6zR9MNszXo8YsmE7ho5lPblX88GP_X3
  3. Paint.  It’s the cheapest way to update your front door, any room, doors and trim and even kitchen cabinets.  I really like Sherwin Williams or Benjamin Moore paint but Lowes and Home Depot has more affordable paint.
  4. Caulk.  Every 2-5 years you need to caulk the trim in your home and around windows and trim on the outside.  Also caulking in your bathrooms.  You should monitor all these areas to make sure there is no air coming in and no cracks.  You can find these at Home Depot and Lowes and ask them for advice but of course Amazon has them.      
  5. Picture Ledge Floating Shelves.  This is a great option for artwork or family photos.  It gives you the freedom to change art or pictures easily and I personally think it looks nicer than a gallery of pictures on the wall.  I got the larger dark wood ledge at Pottery Barn.  You can see them by clicking here.  I got the 3′ long ledge and they are on sale right now for $61.99.

    Rustic Wood Ledge


    Photo Ledge

    These white photo ledges are not as deep but they are much cheaper.  I got these from Home Depot and they are $20.98.  Click here to see them.  There is a similar option on amazon for $22.05 and free shipping for Prime members.  Click here.




8 Home Storage Ideas for under $100

I love home organization.  I worked for California Closets for 3 years designing closets.  Here are some of my favorite organizing items under $100.

In my linen closet I have an over the door jewelry organizer & expandable shelves to maximize storage space.


My Closet with jewelry organizer & shelves

1. The jewelry organizer is only $16.99.  Click here to see it on Amazon.

2.  The 2 shelves are only $14.87.  Click here to see it on Amazon.  


Turntable in my Pantry

3.  This OXO turntable is great and can be used in many different areas of the home.  I use it for spices but it would also be great for cleaning supplies.  For $11.99 it is a great deal.   Click here to see it on Amazon.

4.  Christmas is around the corner and it’s great to have everything in one place for wrapping presents.  This is $16.85  Click here to see it on Amazon.  

5.  Under the bed storage for $26.98.  Click here to see it on Amazon.  

6.  Get your basement organized.  One of my clients had a ton of these shelves in their basement that I saw at their house warming party in their new beautiful home.  I have not bought these yet but I plan on it.  I have everything on the floor in my basement but I will be getting these soon and getting organized.   Click here to see it on Amazon. I love these shelves because of the size.  They are 4 feet wide and 2 feet deep so those big plastic totes and Christmas decor will fit.  The shelves are solid so things won’t fall through.  They are only $64.85 on Amazon.

7.  Over the door hooks.  I have these everywhere.  I use them for bags, scarves, towels, ties, belts, etc…

I found one for $6.91.  Click here to see it on Amazon.

8.  Single Hooks.  I have one on the inside of our coat closet for my purse and I have one on the inside of my pantry for oven mitts and aprons.  No tools needed to install these.

These are $4.84.  Click here to see it on Amazon.  

Those are 8 ideas to get organized on the cheap.  It is especially great for when you are ready to sell so the home shows well.

Property Tax Rates in Delaware County

Property taxes make a big difference in your monthly payment and are a big expense of owning a home.  Comparing the highest and lowest property tax rate in Delaware County for a property with taxes around $4000/year the difference in sales price is $350,100 using the 2 examples below.  That is just crazy that you would pay the same taxes for a $54,000 rowhome and a $400,000 townhouse and they are about 18 miles apart from each other!  To get the yearly property taxes you multiply the property assessment by the tax rate.

The highest rate in Delaware county is Colwyn Boro at 0.074544.  Colwyn currently has 6 homes for sale and the average listing price is $59,800  There is a house for sale located at 617 Tribet Pl. Darby, PA 19023 for $37,900.  The assessment on that house is $54,820 x 0.074544 Colwyn Boro rate = $4,087/year in property taxes.colwyn-boro

The lowest rate in Delaware county is Thornbury township at 0.0203153.  There are 27 houses for sale and the average listing price is $829,630.  There is a house for sale at 26 Newberry Ct. Glen Mills, PA 19342 and they are asking $409,900.  The assessment is $223,738 x 0.0203153 Thornbury township in Delaware County tax rate = $4,545/year in property taxes.


The total property tax rate is broken down into 3 parts.  The Delaware county rate is 0.005604.  The municipal rate varies.  Then there is the school district rate.  West Chester district in Delaware county is the lowest in at 0.0147113.  West Chester school district is mostly in Chester county but a small amount is in Delaware county.  There is no municipal tax in Thornbury township in Delaware county so it is just the county and school rate that makes up the total property tax rate.  There are 6 school districts with the highest school district tax rate at 0.04374 in the county.  Choosing the school district to live in is important because it is the majority of your property taxes.

4 Things to do to your new home after closing…

  1. Change the locks.  Most likely a mother or dog walker will have a copy of the keys.  Make sure to change the locks.  Why not upgrade to a smart lock?  They are about $150.  It is keyless entry so you can just use a code and also you can open the door using an app from anywhere.  Click here to see it.   
  2. Cleaning.  Pay to have the carpets professionally cleaned while the house is empty.  Make sure to clean out all the cabinets while they are empty before you put your dishes in.
  3. Change HVAC filters.  Make sure the filters are new after all the cleaning is done.
  4. Change Toilet Seats.  For about $12 it is worth it to have a new clean toilet seat.  I found one on Amazon for $12.56.   Click here to see it.  Or spend a little more for the whisper close.  Or splurge and get the lighted nightlight toilet seat.  Actually don’t splurge on that.  I did.  They are not worth it.