Helpful Hints

BJGE LLCHelpful Hints


Despite the talk of an economic downturn, DC prices are hitting record highs.  BJGE LLC is pleased to share some insight from Altaf Mohamed with Compass Realty.


Washington-area home buyers are facing the leanest number of listings since June 2013, even as the median price of what sold in June reached an all-time high.  READ MORE >>

BJGE LLC is proud to be a premier service provider for Compass Realty and the Mattingly Group. Altaf Mohamed is our go to agent at Compass for clients wishing to sell or purchase commercial or residential real estate. Here is his and Compass’ take on the recent Fed rate reduction.

Mortgage Rates Only About 0.5% from Historic Lows!

Yesterday, the Federal Reserve met to set the stage for the rest of the year and make one of the most significant actions of Fed Chairman Powell’s one-and-a-half year long tenure. The meeting’s outcome is a quarter-percentage-point interest rate cut, the fifth time since the late 1980’s.

Despite unemployment still sitting at a half century low, mild inflation, and the economy growing at a solid rate, this week’s cut is considered a highly unusual decision by many economists which normally would not call for extra stimulus.

Powell and his colleagues at the central bank assured that the decision is not motivated by Trump’s pressures, but the sole focus on keeping the economy growing. They also stated that it’s better to cut now to prevent a recession than to have to wait until a downturn begins.

According to the Fed leaders, this move will allow our economy more breathing room and act as a bit of insurance against risks posed by slowing global growth and trade tensions. It is anticipated that the Fed could cut one additional time later this year.

The Fed’s decision to cut rates earlier this week might not be as dramatic as you may think. The Fed has raised rates nine times since 2015, with four of those adjustments occurring just last year. This week’s decision to cut the rate by 25 basis points simply unwinds one of those hikes.

Since mortgage rates are tied closely to the 10-year Treasury yield, the recent rate adjustment isn’t likely to immediately impact already low mortgage rates. If you look into the past, each time the Fed has adjusted rates, mortgage rates haven’t always responded in parallel. Borrowers may however see a brief reprieve in their credit card or auto loan rates. With the Fed lowering its interest rate, rate on home equity list of credit (HELOCs) will also go down.

While home buyers may not see a huge drop in mortgage rates right away, let’s not forget that today’s rates are already at levels lowest since fall of 2016. The 30-year fixed mortgage rate averaged 3.75% for the week ending July 25. By contrast, mortgage rates stood at 4.54% a year ago.

These low mortgage rates are giving a major boost to a number of borrowers who can now benefit from a refinance. For new home buyers willing to stay patient with a somewhat limited amount of affordable inventory, the low rates will also provide a great saving over the term of their loans.

Compass Concierge Program

If you are looking to sell or purchase a new home, check out the concierge program Compass Realty. Give Altaf Mohamed a call if you’re interested. READ MORE >>

BJGE LLC and Krista Harper offer 5 easy helpful hints you can use to craft a you can use to craft a home so unique to you, that you – and your guests – probably won’t want to escape from.

How to Make Your House Look Sophisticated on a Budget

We all want our home to be warm, welcoming, and inviting when we walk in the door – and also for our guests who come to visit, as well! Having a house that you can call home, and one that you’ve invested in, is something to take pride in! When it comes to decorating your personal space though, the dollar bills can start to add up very quickly. That’s why it’s fun to be able to get the sophisticated look that you’re going for in your home, while keeping your budget within normal limits as well. Let’s look at five tips that you can use to craft a home so unique to you, that you – and your guests – probably won’t want to escape from!

Create a Fabulous Front Entrance

Although this will be different for each dwelling, depending on if you have a house, an apartment, or a townhouse/condo. Either way, you can still make a statement with your entryway. Finding a pretty seasonal wreath, painting your door a fun and bright color, or even putting in a new doormat with some potted plants nearby can brighten up any entryway. There are even local sign making classes where people make welcome signs from wood and their favorite paint colors … perfect to be used as a statement piece as you walk in your domain!

Coordinated Furniture Pieces

We all know a good night of sleep is imperative to being healthy and productive in our day to day lives – and one huge piece of that is an important piece of furniture – your bed! Not only will a good bed set the tone for your rest, but it can also pull an entire room together…pending that you’ve got a good mattress. Your bedroom can also be livened up a bit with some comfy new blankets, or even some good throw pillows and a matching bed frame. All these items together coordinate to help you have a relaxing sleep space!

Add Plants and Greenery

Just like adding a few potted plants at your entryway, adding some green foliage throughout your abode will be very welcoming – and bonus, helps to keep the air clean! Plants and flowers are touted for being able to bring life and a relaxing atmosphere to a space…. making it easier to wind down at the end of a long day as well.


Piles of papers, magazines, and bills can be stressful enough, even for the person they were intended for…so it would seem it would be even more so, with guests around! Try and keep clutter at a minimum around your house; not only will this help in stress reduction, but it will also look more put together and organized to not have papers and books laying around all over the place.

Create an Environment That Smells Good

we’re drawn in to smells that remind us of home … of freshly cut lawns, of mom’s home cooking, of laundry straight out of a clean dryer. Now, this isn’t to say that you need to be doing all of that at once – but, if you don’t quite know what your home smells like, try and leave for a bit and then come back and take notes. Adding in some scented candles, a diffuser with essential oils, or even just opening a kitchen window can let clean air in…and get your place smelling fresh.

Granted, these are only five of the many ways that you can help make your house look (and smell) sophisticated, without dropping a pretty penny…just find ways to decorate that are unique to you, and you’ll create an environment that doesn’t only look nice – it’ll have your guests not wanting to leave as well!

As part of #BJGELLC’s continued efforts to share #helpfulhints with our clients, I am pleased to share the following article penned by another of our contributing authors – Laurie Larson.

4 Home Projects to Tackle This Spring
Laurie Larson

Spring is a time for new beginnings, so it’s the perfect opportunity after a long winter to invest some TLC into your home.

Of course, this means it’s time for spring cleaning, but this season also provides a great chance to start annual practices that will put your home into better long-term shape for the rest of the year, especially the summer.

If you’re looking for some inspiration, see the following four home projects ideal for the spring season.

  1. Clean Up Your IAQ
    Did you know that indoor air is often more polluted than outdoor air? Indoor air pollution comes from toxic sources we purchase and bring into the home, and these toxins get trapped in any dust we neglect to sweep off floors or wipe off blinds and other surfaces.To start cleaning your IAQ, increase the ventilation in your home, turn on the A/C, and install a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter. Other ways to ensure your indoor air quality stays clean all year long include keeping up with dusting around your home, keeping soft surfaces clean, and keeping some plants around the home that are known to help purify the air.
  2.  Schedule a Deep Cleaning
    Keeping up with regular cleaning is sometimes not enough. Now is the perfect time of the year to schedule a deep cleaning of some of the places you may be avoiding during the year. This includes the following tasks:
  • Unclog your gutters, making sure while you are up there that they are connected securely.
  • Power wash the exterior of your home after collective buildup of potentially damaging mold and mildew from the winter.
  • Polish all wood, including floors and furniture.
  • Thoroughly dust all blinds, light fixtures, ceiling fans, and upholstery.
  • Deep clean your carpets using a professional or rented equipment (keep up with this at least once a year).
  • Air out your mattress and steam it to significantly reduce the amount of dust mites.

Remember that such a project should be a team effort. Ask your family and even friends to be involved, and make sure to take it room-by-room so you don’t get overwhelmed.

  1.  Donate or Recycle
    Donating and/or recycling is an excellent way to rid your house of clutter, increasing how large it looks and also contributing to a good cause. We can collect quite a clutter over winter months, so the spring is a good time to evaluate what you truly need and what is actually creating stress.Carefully evaluate articles of clothing, shoes, electronics, and any other household goods and decide what you truly need and what is better for a local goodwill charity.  If some things are not donation-worthy and are better off recycled, check with your local recycling program to see what is collected and where you can deliver it.
  2.  A Fresh Coat of Paint
    Paint is an excellent and effective way to change the look of your house without spending a great deal of money. Before picking out a color, be sure you are aware of the feelings or reactions certain colors evoke, including psychological effects.Before you commit to a color, purchase a sample container and test out a couple feet of it on your wall to see how that color will look, given the amount of artificial or natural light in your room to make sure it will really work. While you are painting your room, consider moving furniture or adding a new piece of artwork to contribute to the room makeover.

Spring is the ideal time for home improvement, as you are inspired and energized by the changing weather and by the environment around your home blossoming. Use this time with your family and perhaps close friends to prepare your house for longevity using the tips above!

Mute the sound at the gas pump!
Like you, I get really annoyed at the pump filling gas when the video news releases start blaring at you. Up until recently, I used to walk away or into the store and hence forced to buy something I didn’t want. Then one day it dawned on me to press all the white buttons on the pump station. And guess what, I found the mute button. And it is the same at all pumps. Next time you don’t want to listen to the blaring video-press the second from the top button on the right side and you will mute sound.


As part of BJGE LLC’s continued efforts to help educate clients by offering “Helpful Hints”, Azeezaly S. Jaffer is pleased to announce a series of articles by Jenny Wise on Making the Home Safe. The first in this series is “How to Make Your Child’s Bedroom Autism Friendly”.

Every child deserves a bedroom where they can be safe and feel at ease. For children with autism spectrum disorder, a well-designed bedroom is especially important to provide them with security and a place to retreat to when overwhelmed. From promoting calm to supporting the senses, here’s where you can get started.

Encourage Calm

Your little one’s bedroom must be a refuge, somewhere they can be relaxed no matter what’s happening. A central part of this is the careful use of color and decoration, which will not only help manage moods but also support focus and learning. Choosing the ideal hue is a process, and you should defer to your child’s preferences, but there are several recommended colors. For example, soft and neutral colors are suggested to calm children while many consider blue to be an effective sleep aid. Of course, you may still want an area of the bedroom for when there is a downturn in mood. It doesn’t have to take up a lot of space and could simply feature a few favorite toys, pillows, and stuffies, or whatever provides happiness and calm.

Harness Storage

Clutter is not easy on anyone, but for those on the spectrum, disorganization can be extremely upsetting and a source of overstimulation. While you develop the bedroom, think about how you might structure it to accommodate a system that encourages tidiness, and instills a reassuring predictability. As an example, make use of transparent storage so that your little one can see what is inside, and label boxes or use color coding for added clarity. You should group similar items, such as toys and learning materials, to further their bedroom’s organization and give them comfort knowing that their things have a set place.

Manage the Senses

There is a broad variation in how autism manifests symptoms, and that can be apparent in how sensitive a child is to noise, sight, smell, and touch. You will have to tailor their bedroom to any sensitivities to manage overstimulation or unease, such as avoiding harsh lighting or certain fabrics, but their established preferences can guide your choices. If they have shown comfort with a particular item of clothing, you could adapt those textures for use in their bedroom. Just like clothing, don’t force the issue, as this will do more harm than good. Instead, offer choices, if practical, to invest them in controlling the textures around them.

Aid Sleep

Not every child with autism has difficulty sleeping, but there are options that can help improve mood and behavior. For instance, some on the spectrum are comforted by feeling cocooned, so consider weighted blankets or sleeping bags to produce that sensation. Their environment should also be buffeted against any sensitivities they may have, such as using a noise machine to cancel out distracting or unpleasant sounds or putting in blackout curtains. With the right tools and strategies, you can give your little one a sleep sanctuary.

Design for Safety

When planning out furnishing choices, your first thoughts will be towards functionality over aesthetic, and the unique requirements of your little one. After all, something like a vase on a table or a mirror may not seem dangerous, but they could be if toppled. You might want furniture, even wardrobes, that are securable using something like an L-bracket and may need to forego handles altogether if there is a tendency to climb. However, safety considerations allow for some creativity, as glass mirrors can be replaced with acrylic alternatives, and you can even sketch a headboard onto the wall to have the look without the risk.

We want only the best for those we love, and for the family home to be a haven. By designing a bedroom that is autism-friendly and supports the needs of your child, you can achieve that. Give your precious one a place where they feel safe, and where their personality can always shine.

Image courtesy of Pexels

Nest Thermostat
I get about call a  week if not more complaining that a Nest Thermostat is not working.  If your system is on electric than you should have 5 wires coming from the wall where your old thermostat used to be. If not then a dedicated wire had to be pulled in order for the thermostat to work.  Call / text me if you have more questions C.+1.703.371.8761

Nest App
So I get home today and the Nest App on the iPhone shows both thermostats as not connected.  I go to the Nest App and they are of no help.  And don’t bother trying to reach them on the phone.  It’s worse than standing in an Apple Store on a weekend.  So I call my electrician.  Simple solution.  Disconnect your thermostat from the WIFI and reconnect it. Voila.  Problem solved.  Why does this happen?  Because Nest will update software and it knocks the thermostat off line.  Need more information – call / text me C.+1.703.371.8761

Spring Renovation
With Spring finally here, now is the perfect time to renovate or refresh the the home. A few tips to get you started.

  1. Envision and plan your project
  2. Set realistic expectations.  By this I mean don’t bring a Honda budget to buy a Rolls Royce
  3. Spend time doing your research
  4. Search the web for ideas and designs
  5. Solicit bids for the project
  6. Verify contractor licenses and insurance
  7. Negotiate terms of payment
  8. Make sure everything is in writing
  9. Leave no room for assumptions
  10. Agree on the statement of work and sign each page
  11. Agree on payment terms
  12. Be sure to set timeframes to review progress
  13. Add a penalty for not completing job on time
  14. Before you begin, check references
  15. Establish goals against which to measure progress

Ordering Tiles
Tiles can come in so many color and quality variances.  Case and point.  A client bought “Arctic Snow White” subway tile from Home Depot.  Half way through the bathroom upgrade, he was out of tiles.  So he drove to Lowe’s and picked up more tiles. Thats odd!! Same name and same make but the shades were not the same. Always know that the manufacturer sells the first generation of tiles as premium tiles. The second and third generation of the same tile are sold thru the big box stores. So when ordering tiles, make sure you order enough tiles for the project and ensure it’s from the same supplier. Mixing and matching could lead to an expensive mistake. Need more information – call / text me C.+1.703.371.8761

Garbage Disposal
Garbage disposal stuck? Try these tips:

  1. Turn switch off and press reset button on bottom of disposal
  2. If it does not turn on, find the Alan wrench which came with the disposal and insert it into wrench cavity on base and turn
  3. Can’t find the wrench.  Then get a broom
  4. Insert the handle side into the drain side of the disposal and turn mechanism manually
  5. This should free the disposal from the jam
  6. Run cold water and turn machine on
  7. If it still does not turn on, it’s probably time for a new disposal

Call / text me if you have any questions C.+1.703.371.8761

Dishwasher quit working?  Follow these simple steps:

  1. Turn the dishwasher off at the circuit breaker panel
  2. Wait for two minutes
  3. Turn circuit breaker on
  4. Wait till dishwasher recycles (flashing lights on dashboard)
  5. Start dishwasher in a different cycle than the one you normally use

Still not working – call / text me C.+1.703.371.8761