Watch Out for These Summer Safety Hazards at Home

Summer time and the living is easy! Weekends at the lake, grilling every night, relaxing on the patio – summer fun allows us to put our guard down and soak up the sunshine. But unfortunately there are some seasonal dangers around your home in these summer months that we need to stay aware of. Here are some common summer hazards that can happen around the home.

  1. Overworked, outdated AC units. Old and dirty AC units can circulate gross air throughout your house and increase your energy costs a ton in the summer months. Even though we are halfway through summer, it’s not too late to get an AC tune up done by a professional to ensure your system is operating at its best (and safest!).
  2. Unsecured homes. Letting a summer breeze in through open windows and doors is lovely, but it also gives thieves an easy way to get in and steal your valuable property. Always ensure that your home is completely locked up before leaving (including your windows!), especially if you are headed out of town!
  3. Pool safety. According to the CDC about one in five people who die from drowning are children 14 and younger. If you have a pool, it absolutely must be secured with a four sided pool fence that separates the pool area from the house. The fence should be at least 4 feet high with a self-latching gate. Automatic door locks and door alarms are also a great idea! And remember to remove all pool toys from the deck and pool when you are not using it so children are not tempted to get back in the water. You can never be too cautious with pools.
  4. Grill with caution. Before you fire up the grill, always make sure that it is set up at least 10 feet away from your home. Gas grills should be checked for hose leaks and blockages. Make sure to never step away from the grill while it’s on and to wait for coals to cool completely (if using a charcoal grill) before disposing of them.

We want you to have the best summer possible, and being aware of some safety hazards can help you do just that!

5 Ways to Make Your Rental Feel Like Home

Just because you don’t own the building that you live in, doesn’t mean that it can’t feel like home.  We’ve got some easy ways to make your rental feel warm, cozy and like you.

  1. Make inexpensive updates. There are a lot of inexpensive updates you can make to your rental that can reflect your style and make it feel more customized to your tastes. Replace things like toilet seats, light fixtures, towel bars, shower heads, cabinet hardware and even outlet covers.
  2. Decorate the walls. Create a gallery wall with your favorite family photos and hang up your favorite art to really make your home feel like yours. Make a statement by highlighting a large piece of art or make it even more personal by framing large photos of your favorite travels!

picture-frames-1149414_19203. Make it practical. If your rental agreement includes a “no holes policy”, use removable hooks and adhesive strips to make your rental work for you. Need a hook on the back of a door for bath towels? Use a removable hook! You’ll be so much happier in your rental if you install elements that make your day-to-day easier.

4. Add texture. Sometimes a rental can feel a little sterile. Make it soft and comfortable by adding textures to your décor! Lay down a fluffy rug over rental-grade carpet to create a cozier feeling. Utilize throws, soft pillows, and high quality bedding to make you (and your guests!) feel at home.

5. Bring the outdoors in. Add life to your rental by adding house plants to your window sills, tables and kitchen! This is especially beneficial if you do not have a lot of outdoor space where you live.

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What are your favorite ways to make a rental feel like home? Comment below and let us know!

5 Outdoor Upgrades to Increase the Value of Your Home

Now that the weather is nice, it’s the perfect time to add some upgrades to the exterior of your home. But don’t start just any renovation! There are some projects (like adding a swimming pool) that could actually reduce your homes attractiveness to potential buyers. Even if you aren’t thinking of selling your home soon, but you do want to take on some projects this summer, consider these five value-adding exterior projects when deciding what to tackle.

Replace your garage doors. Beautiful, new garage doors are a great way to increase curb appeal and draw buyers from the get-go. While new garage doors are not cheap, the value that a new garage door can bring to your home when you are ready to sell it is almost guaranteed to offset the cost.

Build a fire pit. While some backyard additions can be polarizing, almost every one can agree that there is nothing nicer than enjoying a fire on a cool evening. Install a high-quality, classic fire pit to enjoy now that will eventually woo buyers when you are ready to sell. Want to build your own? Here’s how!

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Spend some time on your landscape. Really dedicating some time this summer to focus on the health of your lawn is worth your investment. Lush landscaping is another curb-appeal factor that will start any home showing off on the right foot.

Build a deck or patio. Adding a deck or patio to your backyard extends your living space which is a huge plus for homebuyers. And of course, you’ll love using it too!

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Plant a tree. Trees are one of the only things that actually appreciate over time. Plant one (or two!) now so that when you are ready to sell, they add value to your home. Looking for the perfect tree for your front yard? Check out this list of “14 Favorite Front Yard Trees”!

What exterior upgrades are most important to you? Comment below and let us know!

10 Hacks to Make Moving Out Easier!

Planning on moving soon? We’ve rounded up 10 of our favorite hacks from the internet to help make moving as easy as possible!

  1. Fill your pots and crock pots with spices when you pack them. It saves space and keeps them safe during the move!
  2. Keep your utensils in their organizer, but cover them with plastic wrap so they don’t move!
  3. Remove drawers and put plastic wrap over each. Then you don’t have to empty the contents at all.
  4. Put a fitted sheet on both ends of your mattress before loading into the moving truck to keep it
  5. Before moving complicated electronics, snap a picture of the wiring setup. Then label wires with tape before unplugging so that you can easily rewire your devices when setting up at your new house.
  6. Leave your bathroom necessities in a clear, labeled bin and leave it in an easily accessible space. That way you can grab it quickly when you get to your new place!
  7. Put tape in an X across mirrors to prevent them from breaking or shattering.
  8. Pack books or other heavy items in suitcases with wheels for easy transport.
  9. While your clothes are still hanging in the closet, put them inside a trash bag to make unpacking simpler.
  10. Instead of bubble wrap, protect your dishes and fragile items with clothing and linens. You need to pack them anyway, so might as well make them useful!

For more ideas check out this and this! Do you have any moving tips that we missed! Comment below and let us know!

5 Sounds Your House SHOULDN’T Be Making

All houses make some noise (think: creaky floors, squeaky drawers, and noisy door hinges), but there are some sounds that could mean some big problems. If you hear any of the following 5 sounds in your home, it’s time to call a professional.

  1. Your Lights are Buzzing. If you hear a buzzing sound coming from your outlets or light fixtures, there is probably a loose connection. Call an electrician right away to make sure there is no loose connection which could cause an electrical fire.
  2. Scurrying Coming from the Attic. If it sounds like a rodent, it probably is a rodent. Beyond the “yuck” factor, rodents like squirrels or rats are dangerous to have in your house because they can chew through electrical wires, causing a fire in your house. Get a pest control professional to come and see what’s running around up there ASAP.
  3. Banging from Your AC. If you hear a banging sound or a squealing noise coming from your AC, there’s probably something that needs to be tuned up. Have your unit serviced be a professional to extend its life and ensure that you are operating efficiently.
  4. Running Water. If no one is using anything, but you still hear running water, you could have a big, wet problem on your hands. Call a plumber to do an inspection and see if you have a leak somewhere.
  5. A Hissing Sound. This is probably the worst sound you could hear in your house. If you hear hissing and suspect that you might have a gas leak, leave the house as quickly as possible and DO NOT touch any light switches or anything electric. You’ll need to get as far away from your home as possible (do not turn on your car!), call 911, and warn your neighbors to get far away too.

It’s always better to be safe than sorry! If you hear any of these noises, call a professional to ensure your home is as safe and healthy as possible.

Yes, You WANT a Home Inspection and Here’s Why!

You’ve found your dream home and you’re convinced it’s perfect. While you may feel like you can skip the home inspection, having one done really is essential to the home buying process and totally worth the money. Here are our top reasons why home inspections are essential:

  1. Uncover Safety Issues. A proper home inspection will ensure that the home is safe. A home inspector might find leaky plumbing, improper electrical wiring, fascia problems, improper fan ventilation or inoperable windows during the inspection. Other safety issues that may be uncovered are things like radon, carbon monoxide and mold. Be sure that your home-buying contract states that if any of these hazards are found, you have the option to cancel the offer to buy.
  2. Use it as a Negotiating Tool. If the inspection reveals repairs that need to be made, your inspection report gives you the opportunity to ask the seller for a price reduction to accommodate those repairs. Your realtor will know which repair requests are worth asking for and which can help you negotiate a better deal.
  3. Project Future Costs. A home inspector will be able to take a look at large equipment like the HVAC, water heater and plumbing systems and let you know their current condition and when they might need to be replaced. This will help you predict home much you’ll need to spend on these large items in the future and adjust your home budget accordingly.

You’ll get peace of mind knowing that your future home is in great condition by having a home inspection completed by a qualified home inspector. Ask us who we recommend!

3 Big Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Downsize

Whether you’re becoming an empty-nester or just feel like your current home is too big for your needs, there are a couple of questions to ask yourself before you take the plunge and downsize.

  1. Will this move save me money? Just because you are moving to a smaller home, there may still be additional expenses that need to be considered before you make a decision. Think: HOA fees, homeowner’s insurance that could increase based on the type of home you are moving in to, replacing old appliances, costs of maintenance, etc. Make sure that downsizing makes sense to you financially before you sell.
  2. What will I do with all of my STUFF? If you’re moving to a smaller home, there’s a big chance you will not have space for everything from your current home. This is a great opportunity to declutter, sell and/or donate items that you no longer use. If you just can’t seem to part with some of your things but you still want to downsize, perhaps it makes sense to rent a storage unit.
  3. Am I emotionally ready? The thought of downsizing is emotionally tough for many homeowners because it might mean that you are leaving a home that you love. It’s hard to leave a home where you have raised children, celebrated holidays and created memories! But if downsizing is truly the right decision for you, think of all of the wonderful memories you will be making in your new place! And, remember that the home that you once loved will now be ready for a new family to love.

If you’re comfortable with your answers to these questions and you’re ready to find your perfect, smaller home, we can help!

It IS possible to sell your home during the holidays!

As we all know, the holidays are fast approaching! But just because this is a busy time of year for most people, it doesn’t mean that it is impossible to sell your home during November and December. Thinking about putting your home on the market before the end of the year? It is possible to sell your home during the holidays!

Your home is probably at its most beautiful during the holidays. But if you want to make a good impression on potential buyers, keep your decorations to a minimum. When selling your home during any time of the year, you want to keep your rooms clutter-free and organized. A few tasteful holiday decorations can make your home feel cozy. Too many decorations on every surface can make your home appear small and messy.

It is possible to sell your home during the holidays!

Make sure you are hiring a real estate agent you can count on! If you want to try to sell your home quickly around the holiday season, you need to make sure you have an agent that is committed to you and will work hard for you, even during this busy time of year. Unsure of who to hire? Ask your family and friends for recommendations!

If the weather outside is frightful, let your online listing do the work for you! When most buyers are doing their home searches online anyway, high quality photos highlighting your home’s best features during ALL seasons (including the spring and summer) can be the thing that sells your home!

Buyers that are looking for a home during the holiday season are probably highly motivated. While there might not be as many buyers during this time of the year, the ones that are looking are most likely very serious and are looking to make an offer. Make sure you have the best real estate agent in your corner to help you close the deal. Contact us if you’re ready to sell your home this holiday season!