Let Your Yard Go To The Dogs

One member of the family that simply can not be left out of the home making process is our four legged friend the family dog.

No matter the breed or size your fur baby is one of the most important parts of what makes your house a home.

We’ve put together some ideas to make pooch feel extra special when you’re looking for a home!

A Safe Place
First and foremost you want your new home and yard area to be safe. Make sure you have a fence for the back yard and that it is in good repair without any gaps or holes where your pup might get out or get stuck. Even if there are holes too small for her to get out remember other things might get IN also, so patch up all those spaces!

Made in the Shade
This is especially important if your dog will spend a lot of time outside: a shady place. Whether it be a dog house, shade trees, or just the porch it’s important to have a spot that pups can get out of the sun to stay cool.

A Cool Water Feature
Puppers got fur. Puppers get hot! A water feature, even just a small pond or kiddie pool in Summer time will make your doggie flip their wigs! It’s a great way to add some fun and to provide a way for them to cool down when things get hot outside.

Toxin Free Is The Way To Be
Some plants and flowers can make your doggo sick – some can even cause your dog to die! – so be careful in choosing the greenery that is in your yard. Talk to a local landscaper or vet to get more info on which plants to avoid and keep your best friend free from danger.

Something Fun
Maybe it’s their favorite toys or a fun tunnel to run through; you might even consider cutting a little window in the front fence – doggies love watching whatever is going on out beyond their walled castle. Pups can get bored easily and this can lead to digging and other less desirable behaviors, so include something to keep them busy.

It’s not a big thing to do and with a little creativity and even a tiny budget you can make your new home, or your existing home, a great place for your four legged family members! If you’re currently searching for a new place get in touch I would love to help!

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Homeowner Emergencies: What You Should Know!

It’s not something any new homeowner wants to think about. EMERGENCIES!

The ink on the paperwork is just barely dry and you finally got all the stuff moved in…when disaster strikes!

And to be fair, emergencies happen when we least expect them so it’s not a matter of if so much as a matter of when something unforeseen will arise in your new home.

The thing to do is to be prepared – so we’ve put together some tips to help!

Black Out
Whether it’s somebody up the street digging or a big storm blowing through, power outages are one of the most common things you will deal with as a homeowner. Make sure you have candles as well as several flashlights readily available and with working batteries on hand. Keep your refrigerator closed – you can’t tell how long the power might be off and you don’t want food to spoil. It doesn’t hurt to have a few gallons of purified water on hand as well as a small propane fueled heater for winter time.

Lock Out
Oops! Lost the keys, or left them on the counter and locked the door on your way out. It happens, you get locked out of the house, but a little pre-planning can be a life saver! There is of course the old tried and true hollow rock method of hiding a key in a nearby flowerbed. Alternately you might consider leaving a spare key with a *very* trusted friend or neighbor.

Water Woes
These can come in many forms from busted pipes to water heater troubles or even betrayal from your trusted dish washer. Whatever the cause the first immediate cure should be simple: Turn Off The Water! Turn it off at the source — usually near your water heater. Once that’s done you will be able to assess the situation and contact a plumbing professional if their help is needed.

Kitchen Fire!
Fire is one of the most terrifying things a homeowner might face. First, do not panic! Keep a box of baking soda on hand as it can be used to extinguish many small flare-ups. For stove top flames NEVER USER WATER! Cover the pan with a tight fitting lid and do not open it until the flames have had  a chance to die down. A fire extinguisher is good, but educate yourself on the types of extinguishers and how to use them as not all are good for grease fires and may even cause the flames to spread!

Above all cool heads will prevail! Whenever something happens take just a second to think first, stay calm, and then act. Over the course of a lifetime in a home unexpected emergencies are bound to happen, so be prepared! Keep a list of emergency numbers right on the fridge – ask your agent, they likely can get you one!

Don’t Make These De-cluttering Mistakes!

cabinetsYou wouldn’t believe it from the icicles and ice berms stacked up everywhere, but Spring is just around the corner – and that means Spring cleaning!

Getting things cleaned up and tossing out old clutter is a big part of getting ready for the new season but you’ve got to keep a few things in mind if you want to avoid sabotaging the whole idea and ending up with a living room that looks like tornado alley for the next six months. Here’s some great tips to make your hoard disappear!

Why Do Today What You Can Put Off Until Tomorrow?
Procrastination…putting it off til the last minute can absolutely stymie any productive effort. And sometimes, it’s not a matter of being too busy, just a matter of not making things a priority – or even plain outright laziness. Regardless, don’t keep pushing back your plans to get things done. Claim a weekend to start and stick to it.

Taking It All On At Once
Another sure fire way to sabotage your efforts is to try and do it all at once. Be realistic in your goals, especially if you have a lot to get done, and realize it may not all get done in a day, a weekend, or even a week. Set short achievable milestones for best results; maybe even just go room by room to keep from feeling overwhelmed.

Failing To Plan Is Planning To Fail
It’s true. You need to start with just putting together an idea of what you want done – even moreso if your tackling multiple rooms. Make a list of important items in each room before you even begin, or maybe create a loose timeline of your goals. Taking just a little time before you begin to think of where you want to end is always a good idea.

Struggling to tame the tide of stuff? Considering just moving to get rid of it all? Don’t despair! As your real estate profession I have the resources to help you get your home ready if you’re considering a sale, or can put you in touch with the services you’ll need to make your home happy while you’re in it! GET IN TOUCH!

Tips to Maintain Your New Homes Value

dollasMany first time home buyers get a big surprise when their home values are different than what they thought they might be; unfortunately it’s rare to buy a home and have it’s value automatically climb with inflation or the market itself.

This is not to say that your home value cannot appreciate, but rather that it doesn’t generally happen overnight. Thankfully there are a few things you can do to help your new home hold it’s value over time – here are some tips to get you on the right path!

Fix Drafts
A drafty house is an inefficient house! Whether it’s Summer or Winter having your HVAC working double time just to keep up with temperature leaks can be a real money drain – when you live there and when it’s time to sell. Find and fix drafts throughout your home to insure that you’re not spending too much on energy costs and to help keep that home value stable.

Regular Ole Maintenance
It seems mundane and ordinary but the run of the mill stuff – that a lot of people just don’t pay attention to – are most often the things that can end up leading to costly repairs if not properly managed. This includes cleaning gutters, changing air filters, and having the furnace serviced – all common things to make sure you keep tabs on.

Landscaping and Curb Appeal
It’s easy to overlook the lawn, even though you walk by it every day, and believe it or not your yard plays a big role in your resale value. Many would-be buyers can be turned off and turned away if the curb appeal isn’t up to snuff. Turns out landscaping is one of the updates you can make to your home with the most return on investment.

Don’t Skimp On The Big Stuff
Need a new furnace? New roof? New Floor? Chances are unless you’re a contractor you don’t have the skill set needed to truly to those big jobs right; doing them wrong can be absolutely disastrous and cost you even more money by needing to have someone come back in and do it right. So don’t skimp! Hire a professional, chances are your agent knows several they can recommend.

Leary about selling? Not sure if the market is ready? Not sure if YOU are ready? Good news – we can help! Get in touch today to find out how a qualified real estate professional can help you avoid pitfalls and make the right choices throughout your next move!

Energy Saving Tips For Your Home

energySaving money on energy costs can be one of the easiest ways to save on bills, especially during the hot months. If you get into the habit of making energy saving part of your every day routine you will be surprised at how the small things can add up to bigger savings.

Here are some quick little tips to help you do just that:

Use Power Strips
Simply having an electronic device plugged in causes power use. By plugging multiple devices into a single strip you can easily switch the whole strip off, or unplug it to keep the power drain from mutliplying. Great for office spaces!

Turn Off Unused Electronics
Seems simple, but it’s easy to forget too. Leave a room? Turn off that light. Going to bed? Close that laptop. If you are going to be away from home for an extended period of time you might even consider unplugging larger or lesser used appliances as well like the tv or stereo.

Unplug The Charger
Nowadays we have any number of pads, phones, or other devices that need charging, but when the device is fully charged unplug it – no need to let that power trickle away. Be sure to unplug the charging cord itself as well as they can pull small amounts of energy just being in the wall.

Use Programs
There are a number of energy use tracking programs available these days, and many appliances even have self-regulating options for power useage – so take advantage of them!

Bright Ideas
Be smart in choosing light bulbs. LED bulbs and compact fluorescents are much easier on power use; while their light may not be as complimentary they are perfect for closets and shops where the harsher light isn’t such a problem.

Cold Cold Water
Using cold water in your wash will generally keep clothes just as clean and uses less energy than hot water. Fact is, hot water can actually strip your clothes of color, so by using cold water you can solve two issues at once!

Winter Tips for the Home

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Old Man Winter made his appearance in a big way!

And while those in some parts of  Idaho are seeing a small respite this week there’s no denying that the cold months have finally arrived and may be settling in for a stay. There are a number of things as existing or new home owners that can help you maintain your home through Winter and protect your investment – these tips will even benefit renters as they can help you keep your energy costs lower as well.

Reverse your fans!
If you have vaulted ceilings especially, you may want to consider reversing your fans and cause them to spin clock-wise in order to direct warm air downwards where you can get more enjoyment from it.

Tune up that furnace!
A lot of us don’t think about it until we turn on the heat for that first time and get “the smell”. Well, that smell could in fact mean it’s time to get your ducts cleaned and heating systems serviced. These minor maintenance calls are usually far more affordable beforehand than after there is an actual issue.

Get in the gutters.
If it hasn’t frozen yet, or you’re experiencing a brief second spring it never hurts to get those gutters nice and open to handle the extra flow of water from snow melting and packing in. Consider adding a short extension to your downspouts also in order to keep ice damns from building up around the house.

Stock Up!
With the holidays getting into full swing it’s a good time to make sure you’re stocked up on the essentials. Not just TP! Make sure you’re cupboards are well supplied with lots of soups and coffee. Keep plenty of snow-melt in the garage for keeping the walks clear and take a look at your snow shovel or blower in case they need to be replaced or serviced — once the big snow flies it can be next to impossible to find a good shovel.

Dodge the drafts.
Check your windows – you can use a lit candle to see if the flame moves – and make sure there are no drafts. If you have older windows consider replacing them with newer better insulated ones. Large windows, sliding, or french style doors can also cause a lot of heat loss so consider insulating them with even a layer of plastic or store-bought insulation.

What A Little Paint Can Do!

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Many people are quick to tell you that a fresh coat of paint is an easy and cheap way to make your space seem brand new; to some extent that can be very true! You can really change the whole way that a room makes you feel by changing up the color palette…but that’s where the cheap part of the equation falls away, as anyone will tell you buckets of color don’t exactly come for free these days!

 

 

So here are some ideas that you can try that only use a single can!

Be BOLD.
Rather than paint an entire area, consider stripes! Even more brave? Go PLAID! Think patterns, think visual interest; you just may be surprised to find that you’re a trend setter!

Fuchsia It.
Whoa nelly! Them’s strong words! FUCHSIA?! In a day and age where everyone cautions you to play it safe, stay with neutrals, which may be good if you’re thinking of selling soon, but otherwise why not punch up the palette a little?

Make Mold.
No, not bread mold.
Consider crown molding, or if you’re lacking on install skills or budget paint it in instead. You can add an amazing amount of depth and texture just using paint in the right places.

Go Retro.
You might not want to get involved in a full on paint project for the entire room, so consider just hitting up some of the furniture instead. You can create some really nice distressed looks or change the focus of the room by giving an old dresser or wardrobe a new look.

Hit the Roof!
A starry ceiling looks great in the kids room; just laying some contrast color on the ceiling of a room can really turn the look around.

These ideas should get you on the fast track to claiming your space without spending a lot of cash! Hop on Pinterest and search out even more great ways to bring a little more color into your home!

3 Tips to Prepare Your Home to Sell FAST!

Get that home sold!Every home seller dreams of a quick and easy sale, no complications, no compromises, and of course an above market all cash offer. While working with a professional REALTOR® is a sure safety net for most common pitfalls most home sales don’t come together over night, even when they do go smoothly.


Thankfully there are a few quick easy things you can do to help the process be even more successful:

Price Competitively
Even more than location, location, location – price, price, price is important!
Listing your home at the most competitive price point may determine how quickly you’ll receive offers. Before settling on a definitive price ask your agent to run a comparative market analysis of your home. This will tell you what other homes within your community are selling for.

Curb Appeal
First impressions count! The curb appeal of your home may determine whether or not your phone is ringing with offers. Thankfully there are many basic things you can do yourself that have a big impact on curb appeal and keep costs at a minimum. A new coat of paint on the front door in a bright, trendy color invites visitors in from the curb. Consider seasonal flowers and a manicured, well maintained lawn. What may seem like small touches, like upgrading your mailbox or replacing faded address numbers make a drastic difference.

Clean, De-clutter, and Staging
Consider hiring a professional cleaning service to come in and really put a sparkle to everything, including carpets. Be sure to de-clutter your home of any abundance of personal items, unfinished projects, or general clutter before a showing. Check into staging rooms – especially if you’ve already begun the move out so rooms don’t look sparse – having rooms staged professionally has the potential to even add to the offer on your home.

These simple tips should help you amp up the sell ability of your home in no time! Be sure and ask your REALTOR® if they have any ideas as well!

What’s BUGGING you?

peppermint oilSummer time means a lot of things to different people. Warm afternoons shared with friends and family, swimming, fishing, barbeques… bugs. BUGS?! Yes, that’s right it’s Summer again and that means the bugs are back to pester their way into our otherwise lovely time.

From ants and wasps to the notorious mosquito, insects can be real party poopers. Here are some tips to help you control these nuisance creatures and make a more comfortable Summer!

Start from the ground up. The better you take care of your lawn, the better chance you’ll have fewer bugs. Talls grasses and unkempt flowerbeds are a haven for our pesky friends.

Collar the canines. It doesn’t have to be the traditonal collar really, there are a multitude of great products that will help keep your hound flea free – making you both much more comfortable!

Standing water. Empty an standing water than you can, don’t leave empty containers out gathering the rain as shallow warm waters are a perfect breeding ground for mosquitos. Have bird baths or kiddie pools? Change the water out at least once a week; this will cut down on pests.

Oil change! Get natural. Bug repellent doesn’t have to be stinky or chemical based. There are a number of plant oils that bugs hate! Mix distilled water, spearmint, and orange oil then spray your arms, legs, and other exposed areas to help keep biters at bay.

Old reliable. Fly-tape. It’s not pretty at all but it will do the job to keep flies on the patio down or even to help round the up if they get in the house. It’s a last ditch suggestion but they can work!

Redneck TV. Your good ole bug zapper. This handy device is best used at night but will work all hours helping keep all kind of flying insect populations down; depending on the company you keep may very well be the most entertaining part of your next get together.

Lets not get kill crazy. Bugs can serve a real purpose in the magical circle of life…but that doesn’t mean you want them dive bombing your Aunt Tilda’s potato salad this weekend. Use these tips to help keep the bugs from bugging you!

Got your own bug solutions? Ever tried the pennies in a zip-loc to keep flies away (does that work?!) ? Tell me about them!