Real Estate News

    • Simple Tips to Tackle Credit Card Debt

      10 July 2020

      Credit cards are convenient for shopping and can come in handy during emergencies, but unless you’re careful, it’s easy to rack up debt fast. If you’re one of the millions of Americans that hold credit card debt, the following tips from the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors will help set you on your way to living debt-free:

      Hit the Pause Button. Take a look at exactly what you’re spending during any given month, and determine if there are any automated payments that can be eliminated or paused temporarily while you work to pay off your debt. You might even consider putting off large expenses for one year to help you pay your debt off faster.

      Reduce Interest Rates. Once you’ve taken stock of all the credit cards in your wallet, as well as interest rates and minimum payments, call your credit card companies to see if there’s any chance they could waive late payments or reduce interest rates.

      Work Toward Eliminating Your Most Expensive Card First. While it’s important to pay the monthly minimum on all cards to avoid fees, any leftover money should be applied to the card with the highest interest rate. Once you’ve paid this card off, apply the same strategy to the card with the second-highest interest rate while making minimum payments on all other cards. Repeat the process until all of your credit cards have been paid off.

      Create a Written Budget. Putting pen to paper and creating a written budget will go a long way toward helping you stay out of debt in the future. Be sure to include an emergency fund in your budget so that you’re financially prepared should you experience a job loss or health crisis. And don’t forget to check in with your budget each and every month.

      Set Goals and Keep Your Eye on the Prize. Whether it’s saving for a down payment or preparing to go back to school, write down your goals so that you’re more driven to reach them. Remember that the changes you’re making now will help you reach your goals well into the future.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • 6 Security Tips for Your New Home

      10 July 2020

      Buying and moving into a new home is exciting, but it also requires a lot of attention to detail, from closing the deal to figuring out the logistics of getting all your belongings from point A to point B. Amid all the excitement, planning and unpacking, many new homeowners overlook one essential factor: the security of their new house.

      If you’re moving, consider these six tips from the home security experts at ADT to help keep your family and your property safe and secure:

      Change the Locks. You never know who lived in your property before you moved in. Do yourself a favor and change the locks regardless of the situation.

      Transfer or Invest in a Security System. There’s no better way to ensure your home is secure 24/7 than installing a home security system. Burglar-proof your house by adding video surveillance and motion sensors for complete security. If there’s already a security system in the house, have it properly looked over and reactivated. If you’d like to bring the security system that you're currently using to your new house, consider relocation services.

      Install Indoor and Outdoor Lighting. Don’t stand out as the “new neighbor” by being the only dim house on the street at night. Keep your family protected by making your house look occupied at all times using light automation.

      Keep Your Outside Area in Excellent Condition. Did you know burglars see the exterior of your property as a bullseye? If your lawn is unkempt or you have large shrubbery, burglars will see that as an invitation to break in.

      Talk With the Neighbors. Having trusted neighbors can immediately make living in a new place much safer. They may be able to help keep your house look occupied while you’re away by simply picking up the newspaper, shoveling your walkway, etc.

      Remind Your Kids to Be Cautious. Moving to a new neighborhood means a lot of unfamiliar faces for you and your family. Make sure your children are aware that they should never let a stranger into the house, leave the garage door up when they come in or go exploring too far until you’re more familiar with the area.

      By taking care of these security measures when moving, you can turn your focus to truly enjoying your new, safe home.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • The Best and Worst Places to Hide a Spare House Key

      9 July 2020

      Having a spare house key hidden on your property can come in handy, especially if you need a house or pet sitter while you’re on vacation or, of course, if you lose your main set of keys. However, leaving a key in an obvious spot can make it easy for potential burglars to find it and walk right in through your front door.

      If you decide to leave a spare key, you’ll need to be clever and avoid the most common hiding spots burglars are likely to check. According to home security specialist ADT, these are the best and worst places to put a spare:

      Best Hiding Spots

      • In a hollow, realistic-looking false rock that blends in with its surroundings.
      • In a small lockbox under the porch.
      • In the barbeque grill in the backyard.
      • Under the foot of a chair on the patio.
      • Under a loose brick in the walkway.
      • Inside or under a children's toy in the front yard.
      Worst Hiding Spots
      • Under your doormat.
      • Under a potted plant by the door.
      • Under a garden statue.
      • On the door jamb.
      • In the mailbox.
      Even the best hiding spots for spare keys aren’t fail-safe, though. For added security, ADT suggests installing an alarm system and cameras. To eliminate the need for a spare key altogether, you could also invest in smart door locks, which offer keyless options and can also be controlled and monitored remotely on your smartphone.

      By taking the proper security measures, you can have peace of mind knowing your home is safe while you’re away.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • 5 Ways to Prevent Wildlife From Invading Your Home

      9 July 2020

      Squirrels, raccoons, opossums, bats–these types of so-called “nuisance wildlife” often try to find shelter in and around homes, especially through attics and basements. In addition to being unwelcome guests, wild animals can damage property and pose serious health risks.

      To help you critter-proof your property, the National Pest Management Association (NMPA) offers the following five tips:

      Screen Vents
      Raccoons and squirrels often find their way into homes via uncapped chimneys, broken vents and other openings along rooflines. Ensure that these items are fully screened to prevent wild animals from making your home their own.

      Cover the Trash
      Many types of nuisance wildlife, especially raccoons, are attracted to piles of trash left outside. You should store all garbage bags in plastic containers with sealed lids to make it difficult for animals to dine on your leftovers.

      Cut Back Vegetation
      Squirrels and other small wildlife are known to use tree branches to gain access to rooflines, where they can then find a number of ways to move indoors. Be sure to cut back any tree limbs or branches that hang too close to the foundation. A good rule of thumb is to keep vegetation at least 6 to 8 feet from the roofline.

      Clean up the Yard
      Don’t let brush, leaf piles or other debris accumulate in the yard, as these materials make the ideal harborage site for small animals. Also, make sure firewood is stored at least 20 feet away from the house during the cooler months.

      Keep Bird Feeders Out of Reach
      Ensure bird feeders are only accessible to birds. Squirrels, raccoons, opossums and even bears are drawn to birdseed. Homeowners should also place birdbaths where small animals can’t reach them. Birdbaths and fountains may attract wildlife to the property, especially in areas where water is scarce.

      If you encounter nuisance wildlife on your property, the NMPA says it’s extremely important to contact a local wildlife control specialist or pest control professional instead of attempting to trap and remove the animal on your own.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Common Practices That Can Damage Your Home Appliances

      9 July 2020

      We all rely on appliances to make home life convenient and comfortable, but many of us make mistakes that cause appliances to break down or wear out faster than they should. These are some of the most common blunders:

      Washing Machine
      If you have a mountain of laundry, it can be tempting to stuff as much as you can into the washing machine. Overloading a washer can damage the suspension and coils and may also damage clothes.

      If items such as coins and zippers rattle around inside the washer, they can cause damage. Check pockets before putting clothes in the washer, and zip up any zippers so they don’t damage the machine.

      If you start a load of laundry and then forget to put it in the dryer when the cycle finishes, your clothes can get moldy. In addition to causing an unpleasant odor, mold can spread and damage the electronic components of the washer

      Hair, lint and dirt can accumulate inside a washing machine and clog the motor, which can prevent the washer from agitating and getting clothes clean. The washer needs to be cleaned periodically to remove any accumulated waste that could cause damage.

      The compressor in a refrigerator is usually located in the back. If it isn’t cleaned regularly and gets covered in dust, it’ll be unable to provide the condenser coils with enough air, which means the refrigerator will be unable to cool.

      Overfilling your fridge can lead to problems. Blocking the air vents in the back of the refrigerator can prevent it from cooling food adequately and can cause the condenser coils to overheat.

      Leaving the refrigerator door open unnecessarily can cause it to adjust to the outside temperature. That can cause strain and make the refrigerator less efficient.

      An oven is designed to cook food, but homeowners sometimes run into problems when they use the appliance in a way that wasn’t intended. Using an oven to heat a house can damage the internal components.

      Keeping the oven clean can keep it working efficiently. Failing to clean up spilled food can cause damage to electronic parts and make the oven struggle to cook food.

      A dishwasher can help you avoid expending a lot of time and energy to scrub dishes. When it comes to particularly dirty dishes, some people think they should use extra dishwasher detergent. The truth is that too many suds can damage electronic components. The normal amount of dishwasher detergent should work fine.

      Avoid Unnecessary Bills
      Broken or worn-out appliances can be expensive to repair or replace. Appliances often become damaged by common mistakes. If you’ve been making any of these blunders, change your habits and use your appliances the way they were intended so they’ll last as long as possible.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.