16. October 2012 05:54
|How Does It Work?
A typical septic system has 4 main components, a pipe from the home, septic tank, drain field, and the soil. Microbes in the soil digest or remove contaminants from wastewater before it eventually reaches groundwater.
The septic tank is a buried, watertight container typically made of concrete, fiberglass, or polyethylene. It holds the wastewater long enough to allow solids to settle out forming sludge, oil, and grease. This then floats to the surface as scum.
It also allows partial decomposition of the solid materials. Compartments and a T-shaped outlet in the septic tank prevent the sludge and scum from leaving the tank and traveling into the drain field area. Screens are also recommended to keeps solids from entering the drain field.
The wastewater exits the septic tank and is discharged into the drain field for further treatment by the soil. Microorganisms in the soil provide final treatment by removing harmful bacteria, viruses, and nutrients.
Use Water Efficiently
Average indoor water use in the typical single-family home is almost 70 gallons per person per day. Dripping faucets can waste about 2,000 gallons of water each year. Leaky toilets can waste as much as 200 gallons each day. The more water a household conserves, the less water enters the septic system.
Damage maybe caused from flushing:
| • Dental Floss
• Feminine Hygiene Products
• Cotton Swabs
• Cigarette Butts
|• Coffee Grounds
• Cat Litter
• Paper Towels
• Other Kitchen &
Chemicals that Destroy Biological Treatment:
| • Household Chemicals
This damage and irresponsible flushing damages pipes and can cause contaminated water. Keeping these products out helps maintain your system.
Why Should I Maintain My Septic System?
A key reason to maintain your septic system is to save money. Failing septic systems are expensive to repair or replace, and poor maintenance is often the culprit. Other good reasons for safe treatment of sewage include preventing the spread of infections, diseases, and protecting water resources.
Typical pollutants in household wastewater are nitrogen, phosphorus, and disease-causing bacteria plus viruses. Nitrogen and phosphorus are aquatic plant nutrients that can cause pregnancy complications, as well as methemoglobinemia, also now called blue-baby syndrome, in infancy. Pathogens can cause communicable diseases through direct or indirect body contact or ingestion of contaminated water or shellfish.
If a septic system is working properly, it will effectively remove most of these pollutants. In addition, an unusable septic system, or one in disrepair, will lower your property's value and could pose a legal liability.
How to Treat Your Drain Field
Only planting grass over or near your septic system. Roots from nearby trees or shrubs might clog and damage the drain field. Don't drive or park vehicles on any part of your septic system. Doing so can compact the soil in your drain field or damage the pipes, tank, or other septic system components.
Flooding the drain field with excessive water slows down or stops treatment processes and can cause plumbing fixtures to back up. Keep roof, basement pumps, rainwater, and surface water drainage systems away from the drain field.
|Contact us in Kennebunk, Maine, to learn more about the septic tank services offered at Nest & Sons.
1. October 2012 05:54
Your Monthly Maintenance Minute
Fall Maintenance Tips
During the fall season, before the weather grows colder, it's important to prepare for the winter months to prevent costly damage later on. Below are fall preventative home maintenance steps that every homeowner should follow.
Landscape and yard work:
Although grass appears to stop growing in the fall, the roots are actually growing deeper to prepare for winter. Now is the best time to fertilize and reseed your lawn.
Prune your trees and shrubs after the leaves turn to encourage healthy growth in the spring.
Trim any tree limbs that are dangerously close to power lines or the roof of your house. Heavy snow and ice can cause damage in the winter.
A common misconception about overhead fans is that they're just for summer. The truth is ceiling fans are helpful no matter what the season. In summer they will cool you down and in winter they increase the airflow and improve your heating. Definitely a winning situation.
If you have portable patio furniture, lightweight play equipment, or a barbecue grill, store it inside. The exception to this is a propane tank, which should never be put indoors. Garden hoses should be drained of water and stored indoors. Make sure your outside water spigots are completely turned off and capped to prevent freezing.
The number one thing that affects a person's bill is the heat they use in their house. Heating accounts for approximately 70% of a person's energy bill. The simple act of turning down your thermostat at night or while you are gone during the day will go a long way to reducing your energy bills.
It is recommended keeping your thermostat at 68-72 degrees for heating purposes and dropping it lower at night. By turning your thermostat down at night, you reap the savings of a lower winter utility bill.
If you have trouble remembering to turn the temperature down, consider installing a programmable thermostat to do the work for you.
Clean and vacuum dust from vents, baseboard heaters and cold-air returns. Dust build-up in ducts is a major cause of indoor pollutants and can increase incidences of cold-weather illnesses. Consider hiring a pro to clean hard-to-reach ductwork.
Taking the time to do some additional fall cleaning will help remove dust and dirt that can be circulated into the air while your home is closed during the winter months. This cleaning will also save you time when you begin your preparations for the fall and winter parties and guests you will be hosting in your home.
Your Monthly Maintenance Minute Brought to you by:
1. October 2012 05:52
Home Theatre Basics
When selecting components for your home theater you will come to a point in time when you must decide on which type and size of television you will need for the best possible viewing experience. There are many types of televisions on the market today and technology is constantly evolving and emerging in order to bring newer, bigger, and better televisions to a market that one would think is already saturated.
The good news is that the very nature of this market makes yesterdays cutting edge technology today's bargain of the day. The very brevity of new technology in the electronics industry works in favor of consumers by driving prices down rather quickly. Nothing is entirely out of reach for the average consumer for too terribly long. For this reason you can afford to be fairly selective when choosing components for your home theater. This selectiveness just so happens to extend to televisions sets as well.
There are basically three types of television sets burning up the home theater market today. Those types of televisions include the following: plasma, rear project, or front projection television. Each of these have distinct advantages and disadvantages when it comes to home theater.
These televisions often provide the best quality when it comes to picture. Their designs make them ideal for watching movies that are formatted for wide screen viewing and they have a much larger viewing area than traditional televisions and they also come in a wide variety of sizes in order to adapt to many types of home theater needs. The single largest problem with these types of televisions is the price, which can be quite prohibitive, particularly as you consider the larger sized televisions.
Rear Projection Televisions
Rear projection televisions offer a great deal of quality at a much lower price than plasma televisions. With these types of televisions the image is projected and reflected from the back of the television. One of the major disadvantages for rear projections televisions is the fact that they are quite sizable in order to house the components necessary for a good quality picture onscreen. Another distinct disadvantage is the fact that there is a great deal of competition that varies in quality and you really need to study the various televisions before settling on any one in particular.
Other notable drawbacks to rear projection televisions are the facts that the lighting in the room affects the quality of the picture onscreen and you have a narrow viewing range. Otherwise, the low cost involved is a huge bonus to many and makes the purchase of this type of television (particularly for a home theater) the best possible choice. It always comes down to a matter of preference.
These are not exactly televisions in the traditional sense of the word but they work well for this particular purpose and are perfect solutions for many home theaters. The technology for this type of viewing medium has also evolved over the last few years. Gone are the days of big bulky boxes that sat on the floor of your living room and that no one could walk in front of without seriously distorting the television view. Today's front projectors are mounted on the ceiling and provide a nice quality of picture rather you are using a screen that is designed to maximize the quality of the picture or merely projecting onto a blank wall.
As I mentioned before there is no universal right or wrong when it comes to selecting the best television for your home theater. The thing you should pay careful attention to is which screen or which view you like best. Which type of television will offer you the most bang for your home theater buck? You should also ask yourself which level of quality can you and can you not live without? These are important questions that should help you narrow down your search for a television for your home theater.
28. August 2012 12:00
Your Monthly Maintenance Minute
Low water pressure at your faucet?
If your faucet has weak pressure for both hot and cold water it may just need the aerator cleaned. If you experience an irregular spray pattern or a stray stream of water going off at an odd direction you might also just need to clean the aerator.
First, close the drain so you don't lose any parts. The aerator is the assembly and screen water passes through as it leaves the spout. The part at the tip of the spout unscrews in a clockwise direction. Make sure both the spout and your hands are dry before trying to remove it with your fingers. You may need to use adjustable pliers if you can't unscrew it with your fingers. Protect the finish of the aerator assembly by wrapping a rubber band around it before applying the pliers.
Once you remove the aerator, disassemble it but make sure you keep the parts in order. You'll find the parts may have rust and/or buildup. Soak all the parts in white vinegar and brush them off with an old toothbrush. If the washer(s) have hardened, take it to your local hardware store to find a replacement and do the same for any broken parts.
Now reassemble the aerator and screw it back onto the faucet. Hand tightening is all you need to do. If water leaks around the aerator assembly, give it a small turn with the pliers.
The whole process may take 3-5 minutes, and you should notice better and more consistent water flow.
28. August 2012 11:59
As the temperature rises outside we find ourselves spending more time indoors. Your home is riddled with biological pollutants that wreak havoc on your health. Things we typically contribute to allergies or colds are all preventable symptoms of the effects of poor indoor air quality.
Families who decorate their home with indoor greenery and household plants report less complaints about headaches, stress, and heart/circulation-symptoms, as well as a decrease in colds. NASA did a study that found common houseplants improve over all air quality; houseplants were able to remove up to 87 percent of air toxins in 24 hours. The recommendation? Use 1 "good-sized" houseplant (in a 6 to 8 inch diameter container) for every 150 square-feet in your home.
That may sound like a lot of plants, but even adding just a few to your living space will remove multiple toxic air emissions including ammonia, formaldehyde, and carbon monoxide. These toxic ingredients come from unexpected places. For example, formaldehyde can release from special glues used underneath your carpet, making the playroom floor a dangerous place for your children or pets.
Ferns, Peace Lillies, Ivy and Palms are great to get started with and are some of the most effective in removing potentially harmful chemicals-including those in paints, varnishes, dry cleaning fluids, car exhaust, and tobacco smoke-from the air in your home.
Whether you are a master gardener or a "brown thumb", the health benefits from houseplants are too great to ignore. Get your green on and take a trip down to your local plant nursery for more information.
9. August 2012 04:02
Positive signs include rising manufacturing indexes, lowering unemployment rates and increased tourism dollars
Justin Lamontagne, NAI
The Dunham Group
The summer blockbuster movie season is upon us. I can just imagine the tagline in the trailer for what I consider a major theme in the Maine commercial real estate market, "The RETURN of the owner/user buyer!" Admittedly, it's not that catchy; but it's true. Small business owners are finally feeling good enough about the economy and their own companies to start buying property again.
Since the start of the recession, small business owners with real estate transitional needs have wrestled with the buy vs. lease question. In trying times, it's been very easy and reasonable for them to play it safe with a short-term (2-3 years) lease. Lease rates, as has been well documented, have fallen in all commercial sectors so it made financial sense for them to simply rent. Furthermore, many have had a general lack of confidence in their own businesses given the overall economic downturn. All of which has contributed to the perfect storm of inaction and short-term thinking that we've experienced the last three or four years.
However, in the first two quarters of 2012, I have seen a drastic change to that trend in Southern Maine. I believe there are several reasons for this and, like all industries, it starts with consumer confidence. The aforementioned hesitation has evolved as business owners begin to see a light at the end of this recession tunnel. There are positive signs out there including rising manufacturing indexes, lowering unemployment rates, and, specific to Maine, increased tourism dollars. As a result, consumer confidence seems to be on the rise.
One of the interesting silver linings of this recession is that banks are lending very aggressively and favorably to owner/users. Financing packages for small owner/occupants are historically attractive. Locally, there are a number of regional banks that compete heavily with one another. This further incentivizes small business owners to take action because the buy vs. lease analysis begins to clearly favor a purchase. Banks are also becoming more comfortable working with the SBA's CDC-504 loan program. This has great appeal to buyers because they, typically, are only required to come up with 10% as a down payment. On conventional loans, the down payment is still hovering at 20-25%. So this is a significant savings to the buyer and, for small businesses, every penny of working capital counts.
Anecdotally, I've closed six owner/user sales this year and two utilized SBA financing. Each deal took a bit more time and required more paper work, but the additional labor proved worth it at the closing table. And, as I think about each of those buyers, I can honestly say all would have likely leased something short-term only 2-3 years ago. One was a local manufacturer and retailer. The owner is a young, entrepreneurial woman who started the business only six years ago. She's always leased but came to me weighing her expansion options. As we did the analysis, it became clear that buying simply made more sense. We identified a location, she was able to secure financing, and her monthly payments are well within her budget. But, to me, the key was that she had enough faith in her own business that she was comfortable taking on a 20-year mortgage.
All over Southern Maine, many municipalities are also offering incentive plans and financing assistance for local small businesses. In Portland, for example, the city is offering what they call a 60-30-10 Revolving Loan Program. It's essentially a gap financing plan set up somewhat similarly to the SBA-504 program. The city guarantees 30% of the loan and partners with a bank or lead lender to cover 60%. The end result is the buyer only has to come up with 10%. There are less fees and red-tape than the SBA program so, for a Portland-based small business, this is a great opportunity to buy commercial property. Similar programs have popped up in Westbrook, Saco, South Portland and elsewhere.
I've spoken to a lot of local bankers and lenders and all agree that, despite the abundance of attractive loan packages out there, this window of opportunity will close. And that's another message that I think is reaching buyers. Rates have certainly stopped dropping and, in some cases, have ticked up a bit. That, ironically, may be a good thing as the market corrects itself and buyers sense a bit of urgency. The final piece of the puzzle has been the shrinking divide between buyer and seller expectations. Sellers have come to grips with the reality of the market and buyers are starting to realize that the market has stabilized. The "shark in the water" mentality is slowly dissipating.
As the nation slowly recovers, I'm most pleased to report that Southern Maine commercial market is improving as well. Small business owners deciding to make the commitment to buying commercial property and successfully closing deals is clear evidence of that. The owner/user buyer has returned to Maine...someone call Hollywood.
Justin Lamontagne is a broker with NAI The Dunham Group, Portland, ME.
1. August 2012 04:39
Property Tax and Rent Refund Program Details
You may qualify for a refund if:
- You do not have a spouse or dependent(s) and your 2011 household income was $64,950 or less; or
- You do have a spouse or dependent(s) and your 2011 household income was $86,600 or less.
- Your 2011 property tax was more than 4% of your 2011 household income; or
- The rent you paid in 2011 was more than 20% of your 2011 household income.
NOTE: Seniors do not need to meet this requirement when their household income is below $14,700 for those living alone or below $18,200 for those living with a spouse or dependent. See the application booklet for more information on who qualifies for the senior portion of the program.
Click on the Application below to Download a Copy
16. July 2012 16:30
The housing market has turned—at last.
The U.S. finally has moved beyond attention-grabbing predictions from housing "experts" that housing is bottoming. The numbers are now convincing.
Nearly seven years after the housing bubble burst, most indexes of house prices are bending up. "We finally saw some rising home prices," S&P's David Blitzer said a few weeks ago as he reported the first monthly increase in the slow-moving S&P/Case-Shiller house-price data after seven months of declines.
Nearly 10% more existing homes were sold in May than in the same month a year earlier, many purchased by investors who plan to rent them for now and sell them later, an important sign of an inflection point. In something of a surprise, the inventory of existing homes for sale has fallen close to the normal level of six months' worth despite all the foreclosed homes that lenders own. The fraction of homes that are vacant is at its lowest level since 2006.
The reduced inventory of unsold homes is key, says Mark Fleming, chief economist at CoreLogic, a housing data-analysis firm. For the past couple of years, house prices have risen in the spring and then slumped; the declining supply of houses for sale is reason to believe that won't happen again this year, he says.
"Even with the overall economy slowing," Wells Fargo Securities economists said, cautiously, in a note to clients, "the budding recovery in the housing market appears to be gradually gaining momentum."
Economists aren't always right, but on this at least they agree: A new Wall Street Journal survey of forecasters found 44 believe the housing market has reached its bottom; only three don't. (The full results of the Journal's July survey will be released at 2pm ET)
Housing is still far from healthy despite the Federal Reserve's efforts to resuscitate it by helping to push mortgage rates to extraordinary lows: 3.62% for a 30-year loan, according to Freddie Mac's latest survey. Single-family housing starts, though up, remain 60% below the 2002 pre-bubble pace. Americans' equity in homes is $2 trillion, or 25%, less than it was in 2002 and half what it was at the peak. More than one in every four mortgage borrowers still has a loan bigger than the value of the house, though rising home prices are reducing that fraction slowly.
Still, the upturn in housing is a milestone, a particularly welcome one amid a distressing dearth of jobs. For some time, housing has been one of the biggest causes of economic weakness. It has now—barely—moved to the plus side. "A little tail wind is a lot better than a headwind," says economist Chip Case, the "Case" in Case-Shiller.
From here on, housing is unlikely to drag the U.S. economy down further. It will instead reflect the strength or weakness of the overall economy: The more jobs, the more confident Americans are about keeping their jobs, the more they are willing to buy houses. "Manufacturing had led growth and construction had lagged," JPMorgan Chase economists said last week."Now the roles are reversed: Manufacturing growth has slowed as private construction comes to life."
Plenty could go wrong. The biggest threat is a large shadow inventory of unsold homes, homes which owners won't put on the market because they are underwater, homes that will be foreclosed eventually and homes owned by lenders. They have been trickling onto the market, slowed in part by government efforts to delay foreclosures; a flood could reverse the recent rise in prices. Or the still-dysfunctional mortgage market could get worse. Or overly zealous regulators or a post-election change in government policy could unsettle mortgage lenders or home buyers.
But the housing bust is over.
10. July 2012 10:19
CHECK BEFORE YOUR CALL
Air conditioner or heat pump not working? Get some tips on what you can check yourself to get the unit going again.
FANS MOVE THE AIR; COOL THE BODY
Ceiling fans are more of a fashion statement than an effective way of cooling your house; however, the air they move can make you feel cooler.
COOL YOUR WALLET AS WELL AS YOUR HOUSE
To help take some of the heat off your wallet, here are some simple cost-saving tips that will help with energy costs while keeping your house cool this summer.
PROS AND CONS OF AIR DUCT CLEANING
You may be attracted to advertisements promoting duct cleaning, but before you hire someone to do the dirty work, consider the pros and cons.
WINDOWS CAN AFFECT COOLING EFFICIENCY
If upgrading windows, consider options designed to help cut energy loss.
5. July 2012 08:17
Early on in my real estate career, I noticed a recurring anthropological event among house hunting couples. They would come into my office and sit down to tell me about what they were looking for in their next home. In about 75 percent of cases where one of them had expressed an interest in a fixer-upper, as soon as the wanna-be-weekend-handyperson excused him or herself to go to the bathroom, their significant other would pull me aside. Then, eyes desperately darting around in a sort of optical Morse code, sweat beads dropping from their brow, they would initiate what I came to call “The Restroom Conversation,” which always went something like this:
“Please help me. I do not want a fixer. My husband/wife/significant other will never do the work. I don’t want to live in an expensive hovel. SOS!”
The life-changing impact and bank-depleting dollar amount of a home purchase transaction renders it fertile ground for relationship discord. That said, if both sides proceed consciously and with the intention of peaceful resolution, there are strategies that can help make sure the deal closes without destroying the relationship - and without one side being disgruntled that their needs are not being met.
Here are my five techniques for resolving differences of opinion with your loved one when you’re buying a home together:
1. Get everything out in the open. Surely by now you’ve heard the saying about what closed mouths don’t get: fed. You’d be surprised at how many ‘restroom conversations’ culminated in an open conversation in which the fixer-averse member of the couple confessed to their mate that they didn’t share their Bob Vila fantasies for the very first time!
In this way (and many other ways, for that matter), real estate matters can reflect the deeper dynamics of the relationship. People who hate confrontation in the rest of their relationship tend to avoid vocalizing their disagreement with their partner’s real estate opinions, too. This, in turn, can lead to one person owning and paying for a property they simply dislike, or otherwise failing to have their real estate needs met. Over years of home ownership, this can fester and snowball into a relationship-ruining avalanche of resentment and rage.
If you have a strong disagreement with some of your S.O.’s real estate priorities, make sure you voice them - respectfully, of course. (See #5, below.) Biting your tongue can be both painful and costly, in the context of a home buying transaction.
2. Prioritize your conflicting wants and needs. Couples with a strong track record of reaching compromises and problem resolution may do this naturally, while newlyweds and other couples who tend to lock horns more frequently will find this to be a new approach. I recommend that each individual buyer sit down and write out their Vision of Home - what they want their lives to look like on a daily basis once they’re in the home they’re about to buy. Who all will live with you? What do you do in your spare time - scrapbooking or yoga or yard work or loafing - and where in or around the house do you do it? Do you spend your weekends at the home improvement store or hosting brunches?
From there, each person should begin to drill down into how their vision translates into a property. This is the time to get into the nuts-and-bolts stuff: how many bedrooms and bathrooms do you want or need? Where will this home be located? Are you wanting a townhome with a zero-maintenance exterior or a sprawling rancher on a few acres?
Once each individual is clear on their wants and needs, the members of the home buying couple should meet up, sit down and review, surfacing where your wants and needs align seamlessly, and also surfacing any disconnects or diverging priorities.
Then, take some areas of disagreement and prioritize them:
- Is your desire for a townhouse a deal-breaker, or could you make do so long as the landscaping of a standalone home is low-maintenance or your spouse agrees to handle it?
- Is your mate’s dream of investing sweat equity into a major fixer a must-have, or are they open to seeing other options?
I find it helpful to categorize areas of disagreement in terms of must-haves, would-likes, dislikes and deal-killers. You might find that what seems like the makings of a major dispute ends up being resolved pretty easily once you get clear on how important each of the sticking points is (or isn’t, as the case may be).
3. Bring your agent into the mix. First, let me be clear: it is not an agent’s job to provide free therapy! I’m not suggesting that you look to your broker or agent to resolve your relationship differences (though many have extensive experience doing just that, in a home buying context). However, agents know more about the subject matter of your disagreement - homes - than either you or your mate, and an experienced agent might even have worked with other couples through the precise issue or stalemate you’re facing, in the past.
Letting your agent in on the disagreement and seeking their input can be a powerful step in the right direction of resolving an impasse:
- First off, your agent might know of properties or property types that can resolve your disagreement with little or no further negotiation. They might be able to instantly see some compromises or solutions that you would have no way to even think of!
- Second, your agent might immediately spot how one or both of your impasse-creating needs are infeasible in any event. For example, if you want water views and your spouse wants to live downtown, your agent might know for a fact that neither of these is feasible on your budget!
Agents are great at helping resolve differing house hunt wants and needs by reality-checking both partners with the truths of the market, including surfacing property-based solutions that hold the potential to make both sides happy.
4. View properties that meet either side’s wishes, as well as compromise homes. You’d be surprised how what we *think* we want in a home, in the abstract, changes up once we’re actually viewing real-life properties in the flesh (or, more accurately, in the brick, mortar and stucco). Buyers with a die-hard commitment to fixing up a property have been known to shift their stance when they actually see the fixers in their area (which may not be discounted as heavily as they expected), or when they see a beautiful, move-in ready property in their price range.
And the reverse is also true: I’ve seen numerous buyers who wanted to do little or no work to their next home become willing to take some work on upon viewing a cosmetically-challenged but otherwise perfect property in the perfect neighborhood - at the perfect price.
My advice to buyers who find themselves at a stalemate with their mate is to split your first couple of showings with an agent roughly equally between homes that:
(a) meet one or the other spouse’s deal-making or -breaking priorities
(b) reflect your best efforts to compromise with the other, and
(c) reflect your agent’s opinion of the sort of property that will support the most prominent features of the lifestyle(s) you each envisioned, whether or not it’s precisely what either of you has described.
This way, you have the best shot at allowing the reality of the homes on your market in your price range resolve the impasse for you, without further fuss or additional ado.
5. Don’t start or engage in power struggles. Wanna know what happens when people think their needs or concerns are being dismissed, disrespected or minimized? They get entrenched and oppositional, and power struggles ensue. In a power struggle, the facts of the situation - the substantive disconnect between two people’s home buying wish lists - becomes completely secondary to the so-called “principle of the thing.”
Once that happens, there’s almost no solution, no compromise, or give-and-take that will satisfy the person who feels their needs are being overlooked. They might agree, begrudgingly, to a property, but express their martyrdom and resentment for years to come. Or they might flat out dig in their heels, being passively or aggressively obstructive to the home buying process by not bringing in documents as needed, making a unilateral purchase on credit or otherwise sabotaging the deal, albeit unwittingly. This is not necessarily intentional game-playing, either; most people who are engaged in power struggles can’t see it while they’re in them. Only after cooling off, and only in retrospect, can they see the overarching relationship dynamics that got in the way of smart, proactive real estate decisions.
Accordingly, it’s essential that if you and your mate disagree on one or more major points of your house hunting criteria list, you each treat the other’s position respectfully. Exercise class active listening techniques, like repeating back in your own words what the other person is expressing, so that they see you are paying them the respect of listening, and asking questions to more fully understand why they have the priorities and concerns they do.
At all costs, avoid teasing or ridiculing your mate or their wish list, no matter how frivolous some items on it may seem to you. Instead, focus on the priorities that you do share, and engage in calm conversations devoted to determining what tradeoffs each of you is willing to make in order to achieve your common goal: a home that works for you both, for your family and for your finances, for the long haul.
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