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!

Is Your Home Budget Cramping Your Style?

livingYou’ve found the perfect place and made it your own.

The boxes are unpacked and it’s been a great time getting settle in and making it your own. But well…you haven’t really changed much yet.

Part of that could be because you really found the perfect place, just the way it is, but if you’re like many homeowners the biggest challenge you face when the honeymoon days are over is budget. So here are some great ideas for decorating your home on tight purse strings and still getting a lot for your dollar!

Paint It Up!
Tried and true a fresh coat of paint works wonders to transform any room and is also one of the most affordable updates you can do yourself as well. While you can always hire a profession if it’s in your price range you really can handle most paint jobs on your own. Maybe start small, do a closet or kids room one weekend to get your skills honed in and then go for it!

Get Rid Of Stuff
Believe it or not, the cheapest update – one that could even make you money – is just not buying more stuff you don’t really need. If it’s too late to prevent that you should look into possibly getting rid of some stuff you don’t need to clear space. Not to get all hoopy-froopy but having more open space really does lend a cleaner feel to a space rather than having it over stuffed with…well…STUFF.

Think Storage Friendly
Getting a new piece of furniture? Remodeling a room? Think storage-first! One thing the tiny house movement has taught us is that any time you can reuse or re-imagine how an area works you can save space.  Foot stools with lids that open, hide-away spaces under stairs, and wisely cycling out home items based on season are all great examples of thinking storage-forward.

These three things are just a good place to start – get creative! There are always new ways to transform a space if you put your mind, some time, and a little elbow grease into it. And of course don’t hesitate to talk to me, your trusted real estate pro about ideas for making your home even better!

Selling Your Home? Here’s Things NOT to Do!

home seller helpThe market is heating up and with the prospect of selling a home is looking very enticing.  As with any major change, it’s not something to be rushed into, and while it’s easy to start dreaming of where the next chapter of your life will take you there are some very real things to consider to make sure it’s a smooth transition. Everyone knows the basic things like prepping for staging and curb appeal, but here are a few things you might want to NOT do that may not have crossed your mind.

Don’t Hide Things
Now, we’re not talking about tucking the kids toys into the closet or hiding the dog bed when guests come over. This is more about not hiding problems with the home, like cracked foundations, mold, or other real issues that potential buyers will need to deal with. Not only is it dishonest, but it only serves to be a problem issue later when they get the home inspect and it’s found out.

Don’t Over Price
Look at other similar homes for sale in your area, and of course talk with a real estate professional about the market conditions. These are the two best ways to gauge the price you should be selling your home at; your agent should have good insight into the perfect initial price. Don’t worry if they mention reducing the price in a few weeks – this tends to be fairly common in the market.

Don’t Hire The First Realtor You Find
Don’t just type ‘find a realtor’ into google and go with the number one result. Who knows, they may be awesome, but it’s wise to at least check around a little bit to find the right real estate professional for you. Look at not only their experience and track record but also how they interact with you – you will after all be spending at least a decent portion of time with this person, it’s best if you enjoy each others company.

We hope these tips will help you steer clear of these potential pitfalls! It’s easy to get lost in the excitement of a change of life, especially once the process has started, but one sure way to stay on the right path is to work with a REALTOR® you can trust.

Home Buying: Consider This Before You Start Looking

homesellersThe time has come to buy your first home.

Maybe you’re tired of dealing with a landlord, or your parents are tired of you mooching of them, or maybe you’re just ready – ready to put down some roots, starting building equity, and growing towards a more stable future.

Whatever the reason you’ve been thinking about buying a home there are a lot of costs to consider outside of the actual purchase price of the home that many first time home buyers don’t consider, or don’t even know about. We’ve put together some of these in a quick list to help you get started on the path towards home ownership:

Landscaping – Variable  Cost
Most homes, especially if they’re already built, will come with some sort of basic landscaping – a lawn, maybe a shrubbery or two. Beyond that, getting creating and making the yard your own will be up to you, but even if you leave it as-is there will still be the cost of maintaining the yard. Depending on the size of the yard your plans for it this can be as low a cost as just fertilizing and gas for mowing or well into the thousands of dollars if you go all out.

Appliances – Middle to High Cost
Unless your new home comes pre-furnished  or you’re stealing your room mates stuff chances are you’re going to need appliances. Even if it’s just a couple things, the costs can add up quick – particularly for larger or higher end appliances. Shop around here. Maybe even consider rent-to-own if budget is tight. You can always shop used also, and remember appliances are always something you can upgrade down the road when there may be more finances available.

Insurance – Low to Middle Cost
It’s a good idea. Some would even recommend going a step further and getting a home warranty – this can help you protect those newly acquired appliances and help keep things running smoothly overall. You can plan on about $700 annually for most basic home insurance with prices varying based on the home, amenities, and credit. It may seem like an unnecessary expense, but home insurance can really save your shirt if something unforeseen should happen.

Utilities – Variable Cost
Depending on your previous situation the cost of monthly utilities may not have popped up on the radar, and even so until you’re in the new place using the services for a few months you really won’t know for certain what those costs will be. It’s a good idea to at least plan for a few hundred dollars a month to cover electricity, gas, and water. It never hurts to talk to the neighbors in the area when you’re looking at homes and gently asking what their average utilities run.

Taxes, Fees, Etc Etc – Who Can Say
Plan for the first of the year. Set money aside specifically for “We Just Don’t Know” because that first year will include some surprises whether it be fees from the HOA or cost of repairs, it will happen. Another thing of course is Property Taxes and other tax fees associated with being a homeowner. Don’t fret, it’s all part of putting on those grown up pants and doing the paperwork shuffle .

Your new home should be EXCITING! Nothing will kill that excitement faster than having to turn around and ask the folks for a loan just a few months after moving out all because you didn’t plan ahead. Keep all these things in mind, but more importantly talk to your chosen REALTOR®  ( you DID start with finding a qualified real estate agent first, right? ) they will have insight and advice that can save you a lot of trouble!

How To Create A Great First Impression For Your Home

house_entranceWhether you are looking to sell or just want to spruce up your new home for the season everyone agrees: first impressions count! 

The front of your house, of course, is the first place to start as it will be the welcoming view of your home for visitors; there are a lot of simple tips to perk up a houses exterior. Here are some of those ideas to help get you started!

The Big Door
In most cases your garage will take up the larger portion of the front of your home; that’s a great reason to pay attention to it’s impact on the overall reception of the house. If your garage door is looking a bit run down it may be a good time to consider replacing it, or if it’s in fairly good shape you might consider just slapping on some new paint or adding window features to it.

Hit The Bricks
If your walkway has pavers or bricks as part of it’s make up you will want to take some time to give them the once over – stone work of any kind can fade and lose color over time due to sun exposure. You can use a gentle washing to help clean them up and check of the mortar to make sure it’s in good condition. If the stone work is too far faded or crumbling it may be time to look into replacing it.

Upgrade The Windows
No, not Windows 10! The windows of your home! Whether this be just updating the glass itself to newer more energy efficient types or actually changing the style and look of the windows themselves, you can make a big difference in how your home looks.

How Does Your Garden Grow?
You can easily add pop and color to the front of your house with a nice flowerbed or planter. Make it seasonal but simple to save yourself upkeep while still looking fabulous. Flowerbed areas in front of your home are especially nice if you have a smaller yard as it can help soften the delimitation between the house and the yard itself.

It doesn’t take much to really make a difference in the look of your home – even just painting the shutters or trim a new color can really add some wow factor. So get out there and make it happen!

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!

Freshen Up Your Home for Spring!

5x1b8dmjSpring is here at last! With dust in the air one thing that comes to bear ever year is all the odors that have been sleeping during the Winter.

Despite the conditions of the floors being one of the items most directly correlated with cleanliness in a home it can be easy to overlook how smells impact the perception of your home until they hit you in the face. Here are some tips we’ve put together to help you keep those nasties at bay:

Mans Best Friend
It’s easy to think that musty smell is coming from your carpets, curtains or other upholstery, but fact is you may not need to look that far to find the culprit. Not to worry, there’s no need to throw out your favorite pup! Just make sure to give them regular baths and take care of grooming. Have a kitty? Keep that litter box at bay by cleaning it out frequently; using a little baking soda to help absorb smells.

Blossoming Scents
Fresh flowers are a great way to not only improve the visual aspects of a room but they can also bring in fresh spring-like smells. Don’t go blooming crazy of course! There can be too much of a good thing, but this is always great, especially if you have guests coming over – just make sure they don’t have allergies.

When Life Gives You Lemons
Lemons are a olfactory powerhouse – and they have a lot of uses for cleaning as well! Throw a “used” lemon into your garbage disposal with cold water to fight stink in the sink. A few peels from a lemon can keep that “fishy” smell down in your trashcan after seafood night.

Coffee to the Rescue!
Yes, this magical elixir is a life saver in any number of situations, but it can be used to fight odor and leave your room smelling great too! Just put some fresh ground coffee in a small bowl, leave it in a closed room overnight, and by the next day the smelly odors will be replaced with wonderful java aromas! You can put a little in a coffee filter and tie it shut to place in closets or footlockers as well.

Is a Tiny House Right for You?

moneyhouseYou’ve likely seen the TV show or heard someone talking about the latest home trend: Tiny Houses. There’s even a local home builder in Nampa Idaho who specializes in these new micro-homes! While down-sizing is one of the latest things to sweep the world of real estate, and some of the designs are quite cute, you’ve got to really consider a few things before jumping into a mini-house.

What is a Tiny House anyway?
Tiny Houses feature living spaces as small as 90 square feet, with overall home sizes generally being under 900 square feet in total. Some are permanent structures, while others sport wheels or trailers for easy relocation. The emphasis is on activities and a lot of your actual living outside the home and using less space for “stuff”.

Will it all fit?
The biggest adjustment is just the difference in available room. Storage can become a large part of the creative process in these reduced space homes and new homeowners for this style of living must consider the difference between what things are necessary and what things might just be clutter.

You don’t have to skimp.
Despite what you may think these tiny homes offer anything but spartan amenities. Many high end small homes include exotic woods and materials throughout; the real difference is just in how much room you have.

While generally these small houses aren’t ideal for large families the appeal for younger home buyers, and older couples who are finding their empty nests a little too empty, is easy to see. So much of the things we need in our lives for happiness all happen outside where we live anyway; there are many seeing this as a way to live a more free lifestyle.

Big or small it’s not hard to find great homes in our state! We invite you to search to find exactly the right place for you!