Let’s face it: You can’t predict the future. That’s why having a fully stocked emergency kit is so important. No matter the time of year, it’s always better to play it safe.
Would you and your family be prepared, just in case? Putting essential supplies together doesn’t have to be a chore and can even be done fairly quickly. You just need a list and a plan.
Need ideas? See below for useful items in any situation.
- Communication: Stay connected even if you lose power. Try a hand-crank or battery-powered radio — preferably one with charging ability to keep your devices running.
- Lighting: A flashlight and batteries are a must. Get a few different types, like lanterns, floodlights and keychains. You never know how much light you’ll need or where you’ll need to take it. You can also stash a few candles and some matches.
- Food and Water: Pack at least three days’ worth of water, nonperishable foods and canned goods — and don’t forget the can opener. Think beans, nuts and seeds, protein bars and dried fruit.
- First-Aid Supplies: You’ll want a first-aid kit, complete with bandages, gauze, burn cream, antiseptic, sterile gloves, safety pins and more. Pain relievers and an extra supply of prescription medications are important, too.
- Clothing and Bedding: Every family member will need a few changes of clothes and portable bedding like sleeping bags, blankets and pillows.
- Miscellaneous Items: Cash, personal documents and paper maps might not seem essential now, but they could come in handy. Other nice-to-have items include duct tape, cleaning products and a multitool.
There’s no telling what the future may bring, so it’s important to be prepared for anything. Get in touch today for more home safety tips.
Finding a home that suits you is only part of the journey. Another big part? Choosing the right neighborhood.
The number of bedrooms and square footage are certainly important when buying a home — but the community might be even more vital.
After all, it’s where you’ll likely exercise and socialize, where your kids will grow up and go to school and, ultimately, where you’ll put down roots and build a life.
Are you ready to look for a new home? Here’s how you can find the right neighborhood:
- Know your needs. If walkability is high on your list, make sure the neighborhood offers plenty of paths to explore. Is your commute to work a big factor? How long will it be? What are your thoughts on homeowners associations?
- Do some research. Take some time to look into the community. Check out school district ratings and look at nearby listings to see home values. Reach out to learn what else the community offers.
- Check out online groups. Pull up any neighborhood groups you can find on social media. Does the online community seem friendly? You can also search for a neighborhood newsletter or local events.
- Take a self-guided tour. Drive around the neighborhood at different times of day to get a feel for its character. Can you see yourself living there? If you’re buying from out of town, you can hop on Google Maps and take a virtual walk.
And if you’re ready to take an online tour or see a home in person, get in touch today. Together we’ll find the right home and neighborhood for you.
Virtual home tours have quickly become the new norm. Sellers and agents now rely on digital tools, and many are skipping the traditional open house and opting for tours via video platforms.
But for buyers, there’s more uncertainty. Can you really judge a home from a screen?
Surprisingly, you can — as long as you prepare.
Are you gearing up for a home search? Want to make the most of your virtual tours?
Download the app. Will the tour be livestreamed on social media? Or will you need to log in to a new platform? Install the right app and do a practice run with a friend.
Research the home. Go beyond the listing description. Look at every photo, drive by in your car, explore the neighborhood and pull up property records. Reach out if you’re unsure how to find this info.
Get the floor plan. Print the home’s floor plan and keep it on hand during the tour. This will help you understand where you’re at in the house (and gauge the size of each room) as you move through the property.
Pay attention to details. Ask to see areas the agent hasn’t shown. How big are the closets? What’s the view outside the windows? You can even ask to walk around the yard or up the street virtually.
Write down questions. If your tour is one-on-one and in real time, you can ask questions as you go. If it’s a group open house or a prerecorded video, you’ll want to write down your questions, then we can discuss them together.
Adapting to the changing market is easier when you have a partner in your corner. Ready to make your next move? Get in touch today.
An offer on your home moves you one step closer to the finish line in the selling process. And if you’re lucky, you’ll receive multiple offers from a range of bidders.
The highest bid is the obvious choice, right? Not necessarily. Here’s what to consider before moving forward on an offer:
Focus on your priorities. Take this step early, before any offers roll in. Make a list of what’s most important to you in the sale of your home, like a tight moving deadline or your financial needs. Are there any requests that would make an offer a deal breaker for you?
Review the contingencies. Now that you’ve established your top priorities, determine your bidders’ conditions for the sale. Common contingencies for potential buyers include a property appraisal and a home inspection.
Compare earnest money amounts. People who are interested in purchasing your home need to show you that their offer is made in good faith. An earnest money deposit proves the buyer is serious about the transaction. The more money they put into the deposit, the more likely they are to be able to back it up with financing.
Be aware of unusual requests. A bidder could ask you to make unnecessary repairs or leave all your appliances in the home for them. Their offer might be high, but if something unusual interferes with your top priorities, it might be best to move on to another option. Together, we’ll carefully read over their requests and discuss any questions or concerns you may have.
Are you ready to get a great offer on your home? Get in touch today.
How have you been spending your summer? Have you been tending to your garden, grilling dinner on the patio or taking dips in the pool?
No matter what your property offers or how you and your family like to spend your free time, there’s almost always something you can do to make your outdoor space more inviting and enjoyable.
Could your home’s exterior use some sprucing up? Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Arrange a living area. Outfit your patio with weatherproof furniture, a bright rug and some cozy blankets. Take it a step further by propping up a projector screen for movie nights.
- Hang string lights. Inexpensive and easy to install, string lights provide instant ambiance to your deck, pergola or gazebo. You can even attach them along a fence corner to create an outdoor nook.
- Install stone pavers. Use pavers to design or add to an existing patio. Pick something that matches your home’s aesthetic. For example, if your style is rustic, you could try cobblestone pavers. For a modern look, go with classic gray concrete.
- Build a porch swing. If you’re the handy type, you’ll just need a few pieces of wood, some rope and anchors to set up the perfect place to watch the sunset. Add cushions and pillows for an extra touch of comfort.
- Add plants and flowers. You really can’t go wrong with greenery. Include hanging and potted flowers, or grow a small garden in a sunny spot. If you’re looking to add shade, plant a fast-growing tree or two.
A beautiful outdoor space can make your home more enjoyable for you now and more marketable when it comes time to sell. For more value-adding ideas or info about the housing market, get in touch today.
Whether you’re buying or selling a house, getting a home inspection can be nerve-wracking.
If you’re selling, you’ll want to make sure there aren’t any hidden issues in the home. And if you’re buying, you’ll want everything to be in great shape so you can move in quickly.
But how much do you really know about the home inspection process? You can start by asking yourself four questions:
Is a home inspection always necessary?
A home inspection isn’t required — but it’s highly recommended. A house could look perfect on the outside but have underlying issues on the inside — like water damage or a faulty foundation. A home inspection is crucial because it can bring problems to light that otherwise would have worsened over time.
What does an inspector do?
An inspector thoroughly checks the safety and proper function of the property. This includes the heating and cooling systems, gas and water, electrical system, foundation, roof and other features both inside and outside of the home.
Who pays for a home inspection?
Typically, the buyer pays for the inspection because it’s for their benefit. If you’re a seller who would like to do a pre-listing home inspection, you would pay for it. The cost depends on the home’s value and size.
Do I have to be there?
It’s recommended if you’re a homebuyer. But as a safety precaution, you may be asked to step outside or follow social distancing guidelines during the inspection. You can also tour the home virtually or talk over the phone with the inspector to discuss any questions you may have.
Do you have other questions about home inspections? Reach out today.
Summer is usually the perfect time to buy or sell a home. And for some people, it still is. After all, there are few things more welcoming than warm weather and fresh flowers blooming in the front yard.
But maybe you’re waiting to enter the market. That’s okay too. There are plenty of ways you can use this time to your advantage.
If you’re considering buying or selling later this year or next, here are five things you can do in the meantime.
Get your finances in order. Take stock of your accounts, assets and debts, and pull your free credit report. Make sure you’re in good standing to qualify for a loan and make a down payment.
Watch the market. Keep an eye on local home sales where you’re considering buying. This can give you an idea of what you might spend on a home — or how you should price yours when you list it.
Save up for moving expenses. Moving isn’t cheap — especially if you’re going a far distance. Start saving for your movers, trucks, packing supplies and more.
Talk to a mortgage lender. Start zeroing in on which lender you might want to go with, and make sure you understand the requirements you’ll need to meet to get a loan. You may also want to get preapproved before beginning your home search.
Prioritize your needs. If spending more time at home has made you reconsider your living space, take the time to figure out exactly what you’re looking for in a new home. Then we can discuss your options together.
For more ways to prepare for buying or selling a home, get in touch today.
Working from home offers some serious perks. There’s no morning commute, you get your pets as coworkers and you can even hang around in pajamas all day — as long as you don’t have to be on a video call, of course.
But remote work isn’t perfect. It could actually pose a security risk if you’re not careful.
Do you want to make sure your information is safe while you’re working online?
Take these seven steps to protect yourself from online security threats.
- Set strong passwords or passphrases. It’s nothing new, but it’s worth repeating: Use a random combination of letters, numerals and symbols for each of your electronic devices and any sites that require you to log in. And be sure to make them all unique.
- Store your passwords safely. It’s not easy to remember all those passwords, so use a password manager to store and encrypt them. You’ll just need to remember a single master password to access them.
- Use two-factor authentication. This important step adds another layer of security, making your accounts and devices harder to hack.
- Be wary of suspicious links and emails. Always check who the message came from, and avoid clicking links from anyone you don’t know.
- Keep your software up to date. This ensures your programs and devices have the latest security applications in place.
- Follow your employer’s security practices. Talk to your company’s IT director if you need more guidance.
- Store your files securely. Don’t save sensitive documents to your desktop or in a default folder. Sign up for a secure cloud storage solution to protect your data.
If you’re working remotely, it’s essential to take online security seriously. It could protect you from identity theft, data loss and other major issues.
And if you’re looking for a change of scenery or a new home office, get in touch today.
As a homeowner, you shouldn’t ignore curb appeal.
Keep it in great condition, and you’ll likely see high property values and serious marketability when it comes time to sell. Let it slide, and the opposite could happen.
Even if you’re not planning to sell anytime soon, refreshing your home’s exterior can add value or give you a head start if you choose to sell later.
It just takes a little effort and a touch of creativity.
Here are four ways to up your curb appeal:
Plant a garden.
A pop of color goes a long way, so plant a few flowers or a flowering bush in front of your home. Opt for perennials, which can last more than two years.
Upgrade your mailbox.
Forget the standard old mailbox that came with the house. Try a brick model — or revamp your existing one with a fresh coat of paint or a new post.
Make your front porch more inviting.
If you’re looking for an easy project with a big impact, add some charm to your porch. Get some potted or hanging plants, a brand-new welcome mat and a couple of cozy chairs.
Freshen up your door.
Give it a new coat of paint, add some new fixtures and a kickplate, and maybe update your address numbers, too. They might seem like small fixes, but they can make a big difference in your home’s overall appearance.
Curb appeal matters — especially if you’re considering selling your home soon.
Looking for more tips on boosting the value of your home? Get in touch today.
It’s easy to focus on what you can’t do while you’re stuck at home these days. But here’s something you can do: Show thanks to the essential workers in your life.
Health care professionals, grocery store employees, first responders, mail carriers and many others are still going to work every day. They’re risking their health to help our community.
We might not be able to spend time together in person, but we can still be there for our friends and neighbors.
So how can you show your appreciation? Consider sending one of these gifts.
- Gift Cards: Essential workers might not have as much time to cook for themselves, so give them gift cards to local restaurants or food delivery services.
- Entertainment: They could probably use an escape now more than ever. Help them take a mental break with a streaming subscription, a book or a preloaded e-reader.
- Home Essentials: Your favorite frontline workers are also braving the grocery store for the basics. Gift them a healthy stash of hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes and other must-haves to save them a trip.
- Self-Care Items: Everyone deserves a few minutes to relax each day, no matter how busy work might be. Help local essential workers take a load off with soothing soaps, lotions and bath bombs.
- Thank-You Note: Sometimes the best gifts are the simple ones. You can leave a handwritten thank-you card, send a friendly text message or write a thoughtful email.
Remember: We’re all in this together, and supporting each other is important during these uncertain times. For more ideas on celebrating the amazing people in our community, get in touch today.