Common Renovation Mistakes to Avoid

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When the market is competitive, many homeowners opt to renovate their properties rather than sell or buy.

This can be a smart move for many reasons, but as you know, home projects can often end up being expensive and time-consuming.

Don’t want to make a costly mistake or even regret a renovation altogether? Take a look at these four common missteps — and find out how to avoid them.

Mistake #1: Choosing the Wrong Project 

Ultimately, you want your upgrades to increase your home value and deliver a return on your investment when you eventually sell. You also want to use your precious time wisely. When selecting a project, make sure you choose one that isn’t more trouble than it’s worth.

Mistake #2: Going Too Big

You don’t have to completely redo your kitchen or bathroom to make a big impact. Could you simply repaint the cabinets or replace the fixtures instead? Try to consider low-cost, low-effort alternatives that could deliver a similar result to what you’re aiming for. 

Mistake #3: Trying to DIY Something You Shouldn’t

You can tackle some projects yourself, but if it requires specialized skills like plumbing, electrical work or structural updates, you’re better off leaving it to the pros. DIY work is typically best reserved for small-scale renovations like painting or landscaping. 

Mistake #4: Failing to Budget Properly

Make sure you have a plan to avoid the most common budgeting problems. These include underestimating your costs, not saving enough before starting your work, and failing to have a good buffer set aside in case of surprises. 

Considering buying new instead of renovating? Get in touch today.

Working With an Agent Is So Important

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HGTV and home renovation shows may be entertaining, but they’re not always accurate. In particular, most of them skip over the important ways real estate agents can help homeowners.

In the real world, agents play a huge role in home purchases, sales and even flips.

Are you planning to make a real estate move this year? Here are just a few of the ways an agent can help make the experience a success.

Experience and Local Knowledge

Agents know how to draw up your contracts, handle the paperwork and save you valuable time (which is vital in today’s busy market). We also have on-the-ground knowledge of the local market, which can help you better evaluate properties, make offers and negotiate pricing.

Negotiation Skills and Key Partners

Experienced agents also know how to negotiate successfully and can leverage inspection results, sales reports and other data to get you the best bang for your buck — whether you’re buying or selling.

Working with an agent also provides access to deep professional networks, which comes in handy when it’s time to find an inspector, contractor, financial adviser, mortgage lender, real estate attorney and other partners on your journey.

The Bottom Line

Finally, agents know all about home values — as well as what features, amenities and styles can increase your property value down the line. 

There’s no need to navigate a stressful, complex and high-stakes process alone when you could have a knowledgeable and compassionate agent working on your behalf.

Do you want help with your next home sale, purchase or fix-and-flip? Get in touch today.

Build a Next-Level Backyard Playground

Backyard playgrounds have become a big-ticket item for many families. Keeping kids safely at home but also giving them a place to play outside is essential. And if you’re not looking for a basic swing set, what can you build to take your playground to the next level? Here are a few ideas.

A Climbing Wall

Climbing gyms are big business for adults, so why not instill the love of climbing in your kids early on? You don’t need a complicated or high climbing wall for the little ones, but using similar hand- and footholds on a short, slanted wall will give your kids a great place to play.

Tall Towers

Kids love being up high, so building a taller tower will give them the feeling they’re craving. Keep in mind that tall is relative. A 5-foot tower will feel like a skyscraper to a child. Keep them safe and accessible.

Bridges

Who didn’t want a system of treehouses with connecting rope bridges when they were a kid? Now’s your chance to make that dream come true for your children. Building simple bridges can be easy, especially if you buy premade kits.

Fast Slides

What’s better than a tower with bridges? A quick escape with a fast slide. Kids love slides, and adults love them too. Include a fast slide in your play palace to add a safe but adrenaline-pushing zoom for your kids to enjoy.

An Outdoor Getaway

Your playground doesn’t have to be just a swing set or a jungle gym. Kids also love forts and treehouses, so you can combine the concepts and create a next-level play area for your children. Your yard will become the place all the kids want to hang out.

Do you want a great yard to build your dream play-set? Call us to find out more today.

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Easy Ways to Improve Your Bathroom

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Remodeling your bathroom can be a great investment. It immediately makes your home more usable and enjoyable, and in the long term, an upgrade could increase your home’s value by thousands of dollars.

And a remodel doesn’t have to be a time-consuming or costly event. There are quite a few small, low-cost projects that can offer a big impact. 

Thinking about updating a bathroom? Here are a few projects you might want to consider.

Improve the Lighting

Sometimes changing out a fixture or installing a different type of lighting can make all the difference. You can even upgrade to smart bulbs for extra value and convenience. 

Add Some Storage

Who doesn’t need more storage? Whether it’s adding an extra medicine cabinet above the toilet or shelves to the closet, every bathroom can be enhanced with a little extra storage space.

Update Countertops and Fixtures

Changing out the hardware can make a big difference. That might mean swapping countertop materials, changing out drawer pulls or installing new doorknobs and faucets.

Add a Pop of Color

You don’t need to paint the whole room, but a pop of color in an alcove or built-in shelving unit can quickly improve the space. You could even do a patterned wallpaper if it fits with your aesthetic.

Upgrade the Shower or Tub

Could you add seating or built-in storage to your shower? Jacuzzi jets to your tub? A floor-level door for accessibility? It’s the details that matter.

One more thing: If you do opt to update your bathroom, don’t skimp on the planning. Have a budget in place, carefully vet your contractors, and avoid DIYing anything you’re not entirely confident about.

Do you have questions about your home’s value? Reach out today.

Summer Home Trends

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Summer is a great time to improve your home’s exterior. 

And whether you’re interested in enjoying your space a little more or you want to boost your home’s value, it makes sense to find inspiration by taking a look at what other homeowners are doing.

Are you thinking about updating your yard or patio this summer? Here are five popular trends to consider trying for yourself.

Install a workout or play area. Make the most of your property by building a swing set or sandbox, adding a horseshoe pit or investing in a small climbing wall or some gym equipment that the whole family can use. 

Build a front yard social spot. Want a casual outdoor spot that’s welcoming to your friends and neighbors? Think about setting up a social area in the front yard — one with benches, swings and comfortable places to sit and chat.

Focus on backyard entertainment. For more private gatherings, focus on guest-friendly features in the backyard. Movie screens, fire pits and hot tubs are a few popular options. 

Add an outdoor kitchen. Love to cook? Just want to eat alfresco? Install an outdoor pizza oven or invest in a smoker or grill. Be sure to set up a roomy (and durable) dining area, too.

Plant a vegetable or herb garden. It’s never too late to improve your landscaping with something functional. Consider planting a few of your family’s favorite veggies or herbs in a small garden out back.

Need some guidance on potential upgrades that can improve your home’s value? Thinking about a new property purchase instead? Get in touch today.

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Building a Home Wish List

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Whether you’re thinking of buying a home soon or months down the road, you’ll need a carefully considered wish list when the time comes to start your search.

Identifying your needs and wants will help you narrow your options and make your home buying journey — which we all know can be stressful —  as smooth and efficient as possible.

Are you ready to put together your dream home wish list? Here’s what to consider.

Think about what you like (and don’t like) about your current home. Be sure to consider size, number of bedrooms, layout and individual features and amenities.

Consider the location. What’s important for your future neighborhood? Good schools? Proximity to work, parks or the airport? You might even name a few communities you already know you like, but be sure to keep an open mind (you might find a gem where you least expect it).

Separate the must-haves from the nice-to-haves. Must-haves are features you can’t live without — maybe things like a garage, three bedrooms or a fenced yard. Nice-to-haves could be details like a walk-in closet, stainless steel appliances or a finished attic.

Zero in on your budget. You need to know what you can afford monthly (for your mortgage and for bills and maintenance costs), as well as what you can put toward a down payment and closing costs.

Consult your family. If you’re going to share the house with your spouse, kids or other family members, sit down and talk through these points together. Everyone should be on the same page before making such a large investment.

Perfecting your wish list before you need it can help your eventual home purchase go more quickly and easily. 

Need some help creating your list or finding properties that match what you’re looking for? Get in touch today.

Today’s Busy Real Estate Market

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You’re probably well aware that the real estate market is more competitive than ever (due to low inventory, among other things).

Still, it’s not a bad time to buy a house. Mortgage rates are low, home values are on the rise and, in many cases, buying is still more affordable than renting.

Are you considering purchasing a house in today’s fast-paced market? Here are five tips that can help.

Get preapproved. Applying for a mortgage preapproval is critical in a competitive market. Not only can it give you a good price range to shop in, but it can also help sellers feel more confident in your offers (and maybe even choose yours over others).

Be flexible. If you can be flexible on your closing date or willing to waive a contingency or two, it will often work in your favor. Sellers are looking for the easiest, most lucrative sale in most cases. We can discuss what makes sense for you when the time comes. 

Make a decent earnest money deposit. Earnest money deposits are “good faith” deposits that indicate how serious you are about a home purchase. If the seller accepts your offer and you don’t follow through with the deal, they keep that cash.

Be prepared to bid more than the asking price. Consider searching in a lower-than-maximum price range so that you have room to bid upward if necessary. In many cases, you’ll need to increase your bid to compete with other buyers, so maxing out your budget from the start probably isn’t the best strategy.

Be patient (but stay alert). In the current conditions, you may not find what you’re looking for immediately. On the other hand, things could start moving quickly at any time. To find success, remember that communication and flexibility are key.

It can be challenging to buy a house in today’s market — but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Reach out today if you need assistance.

Proper Care for a Perfect Deck

How often do you use your deck? Do you host parties with wine or cocktails? Do you have birthday gatherings for a dozen or more small children? Do you serve dinner for your family when the weather is nice? However it is used, every homeowner who takes advantage of their deck must maintain it to ensure that it stays safe and comfortable or many years.

The following guide will help with proper care.

Keep It Clean and Dry

Your deck, when properly built, will last a very long time with just simple maintenance. Most important, you need to keep it clean and dry. Yes, it will be exposed to weather and that’s okay, but try to limit prolonged exposure. Regular sweeping of your deck to rid it of debris will generally be sufficient.

Winterize Your Deck

Of course, winter will be a time of prolonged exposure, so it’s best to winterize your deck before you expect inclement weather. Inspect your deck to make sure handrails are secure, no screws are loose and boards are not damaged. Clean the deck with a bleach-free cleaner or mild soap and water. To keep your deck dry during the winter, treat it with a water repellent.

Select the Perfect Wood

The type of wood you choose for your deck will also affect its life span. The three most common types of wood are redwood, cedar and pressure-treated wood. If you bought a home that already has a deck, inspect it to understand the kind of wood used and how to protect it. Some decks are built using engineered wood, and they may require less general maintenance.

To ensure you can enjoy your deck for as long as you own your home, contact us today.

Questions About Closing Costs

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If you’re getting ready to buy a home, you’re probably focused on saving as much as you can for the down payment. But don’t forget: You’ll need to cover closing costs, too. 

To create a realistic home buying plan, make sure you factor in this additional upfront expense so that you can set yourself up for success.

Are you eyeing a home purchase in the near future? Here’s what you need to know about closing costs:

What are closing costs? 

Closing costs include several fees, including those associated with originating, processing and underwriting your loan, recording the transaction with your county, appraising your home and more. Taxes and insurance are also part of these expenses. 

When do you pay them? 

Closing costs are paid on closing day, once your loan is ready to be finalized. You’ll also pay your down payment at this time.

How much are closing costs? 

The exact amount you’ll pay will depend on various factors, including your location, loan amount, lender and more, but you can generally expect to pay somewhere between 2% and 5% of your total mortgage balance.

Are there ways to reduce closing costs? 

You can reduce your closing costs by shopping around for your lender and title company, asking the seller to contribute, or, in some cases, negotiating with your lender.

Selling a house comes with closing costs, too, so make sure you’re prepared if you’ll need to sell a property before buying your new one. 

Ready to start your home search? Get in touch today.

Smart Moving Tips

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No matter how much you prepare and how excited you are about your new home, moving will always be a bit stressful. 

There are endless to-do’s and tiring tasks, and once you’re finished, there’s still unpacking and organizing to be done.

Even so, you can take steps to streamline your relocation and minimize problems.

Are you planning to move properties soon? Take a look at these helpful tips as you get started.

  • De-clutter and donate. Your first step should be to de-clutter your house and donate any items you no longer need. You should do this a few months out — long before you start packing. 
  • Start vetting and reserving services early on. Book your packers, movers and moving trucks early on. This will ensure you get the dates you need (as well as the best rates). 
  • Pack an overnight bag for each member of the family. Think about what you’ll want access to on moving day and on the first night in your new place. Make sure to include snacks, water and anything else you might need. 
  • Get creative with packing materials. You don’t necessarily need packing peanuts or costly bubble wrap to keep your items safe. Consider using hand towels, dishcloths, blankets, socks and other soft belongings instead. (They need to be packed anyway, after all.)
  • Label boxes systematically. Pack items by room and label each group of boxes with its own color (using stickers or a marker). This makes them easy to spot when loading, unloading and unpacking. 
  • Plan for your pets and kids. Little ones and pets could get in the way during the big move, so make sure you arrange for them to stay somewhere safe until you’re more settled. 

Thinking of buying a new home this year? Get in touch to start your search.

Add Value to Your Home with Spring Cleaning

Clean Up the Yard

You never get a second chance to make a great first impression, so make the most of your home’s first impression by cleaning up the yard.

  1. Clear away fall and winter debris such as fallen branches and leaves.
  2. Pick up and put away toys and other items that are not lawn ornaments.
  3. Be sure that all walkways are clear and easy to navigate. If you have broken or misaligned steps, consider hiring a professional to fix them.
  4. Clean the gutters, or hire a professional to clean them. When gutters are clogged, they can overflow and cause water damage to the exterior of your home. If they overflow into a window, the water damage can extend into the interior, as well.
  5. Treat your lawn to a spa day: feed it, weed it, give it moss treatment, and mow it on a dry day. When you know it’s going to rain, or shortly after rain, apply fertilizers for best results.

Clean Up the Exterior Walls of the House

Over the course of a year, a lot of dirt, muck, and grit can collect on the exterior walls of a home—not to mention moss, mold, and mildew growth along brick walls.

  1. On a warm, dry day, wash away the dirt on the exterior walls of your home. Take care not to damage any surfaces, let water get underneath the siding, or dislodge any bricks.
  2. If it looks like there is water damage on the outside of your home, call a professional.
  3. Take the chance to clean the outside of your windows as well, and check for any damage to them. Cracked panes should be replaced and peeling windowsills should be tended to, as well. Once you’re back inside, wipe the inside of the windows down and clear away any cobwebs.
  4. Peeling windowsills are a great opportunity (after removing the old paint) to repaint them with a refreshing new color. Not sure what color to pick? Our blog post can give you an idea on what might be the best color, depending on what effect you want to achieve.

Clean Up the Garden

If you have a garden with clearly defined borders, be sure to freshen those borders up. In addition, give your garden some attention and care:

  1. Fork the soil around plants to introduce fresh air and reveal any pests or weeds.
    • To prevent pests from getting inside your home, check out our blog post 5 Ways to Stop Pests This Spring.
  2. Remove weeds and other unwanted plants.
  3. Add mulch to control additional weeds or refresh existing mulch.
  4. Check to see if any bricks or stones have become misaligned and realign them.
  5. To help your plants grow and add nutrients to the soil, add compost or other organic matter.

If you don’t have a garden but would like to increase the curb appeal of your home by adding some plants, try adding flower pots or hanging plants outside!

  1. Check that the flowers and plants won’t be at risk of dying from a last frost before adding the pots or hanging plants outdoors.
  2. If you want to grow the plants from seeds, consider starting them indoors to avoid losing them to hungry birds or animals before they’ve had the chance to sprout. Otherwise, pick potted flowers and plants you like from your local garden center.
  3. Arrange the potted flowers and hanging plants how you like: on your front porch, flanking your front door, along your walkway, or even in your back garden. The options are endless!

Don’t Forget the Fence!

Last but not least, if you have a fence, inspect it for any damage.

  1. Ensure that all gates are properly attached and that locks function smoothly.
  2. Fill in any holes animals may have dug underneath the fence. If you have a dog that keeps digging a hole to escape, bury a toy, or pursue some other destructive behavior, you may want to check with your local dog academy to see whether training can correct the behavior.
  3. Check for loose boards, rusted wires, damaged bricks or stones, etc. and repair the fence accordingly. If you don’t know how to maintain your fence and find that a section has decayed, call a professional.
  4. If you want to give your yard a fresh look, consider painting your fence a new color, adding flowers along the boundaries, or adding climbing plants to transform your fence into a garden wonderland. Check with your local garden center first on which climbing plants would be best.
    • Beware: climbing plants require a certain amount of maintenance and care to keep them from becoming unruly and overtaking your yard. If they attach to a tree, they can cause serious damage.

Enjoy the fruits of your hard work!

Big Housing Decisions You May Face

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Housing decisions are never small. Where you choose to live impacts your budget, your job prospects and your social life. 

And in the future, your home plays a major role in what your retirement might look like (financially and logistically). 

For these reasons, housing decisions require plenty of careful consideration.

Want to be prepared to make the right choice when the time comes? Start here.

1. Should you build or buy? 

Both building a new home or buying an existing one can be good choices. You’ll typically pay more for a new home, but it will likely need fewer repairs and have lower maintenance costs. 

Existing homes, on the other hand, are usually cheaper upfront. They may come with more issues and potential repairs, though.

2. Is it better to move or to remodel? 

There will typically come a time when you outgrow your first house. When this happens, you’ll need to decide whether updating (or expanding) that property is best or if you’re better off finding a new home instead. 

Renovating will come with some hassle and mess, but if you love your location or your kids’ schools, it can be a smart choice. Buying a new property would allow you to change some of those foundational aspects — things like location, school district and community amenities.

3. Is it time to downsize? 

As you age and your kids move out, you might consider a smaller house. Downsizing can reduce your monthly costs, free up cash flow and reduce the amount of cleaning and maintenance you need to do. 

On the other hand, it may be hard to part with your long-standing home — both for you and your grown children. You’ll also want to think about things like your budget, long-term retirement plans, physical comfort and more.

Need help making a big housing decision? We’re here for you. Get in touch today to discuss your options. 

Posted in Events Life Listings Real Estate by Being BOB. No Comments

Fun Bathroom Ideas for Kids

A bathroom designed exclusively for your kids will make them feel special. It keeps them out of the adult bathroom, giving you a private and relaxing space. Choosing the decor for a child’s bathroom can be difficult with so many fun themes available. If you’re looking for inspiration to design a kid’s bathroom, the following ideas can help you get started.

Nautical

It might be the most common bathroom theme, but that doesn’t mean it has to be cliché. You can do a lot of things for an under-the-sea theme, such as focusing on specific creatures, like whales or sharks, or go with a classic nautical look.

Circus

Bold colors, stripes and animals all come to mind when you think of the circus. This can make a great bathroom theme that you can take over the big top or bring a little more down to earth. Use red and white stripes to create the feel you want.

Fantasy

Fantasy can mean anything from dragons and unicorns to a theme based on a favorite book or movie. Take magical elements and turn your child’s bathroom into a fun experience. Colors, artwork and fabrics can be used to emphasize your dream design.

Woodlands

Natural material and woodland animals can come together to create a fun outdoor-themed bathroom. You can keep it simple and classy or turn the entire room into a camper’s paradise. Greens, browns and other natural colors can add to the outdoor feel.

Space

If your kid dreams of interstellar travel, try shooting for the stars. Rockets, stars and planets can give your space-themed bathroom a finished look. Blues and other dark colors are evocative of our galaxy and beyond.

Call us today to talk about a perfect bathroom design for your children.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Dog Parks

Dog parks can be the best, or worst, places for your dog.

Dog owners and their best buddies tend to love dog parks. They can be  terrific places for dogs to socialize, from learning how to be part of a pack to learning doggie social graces. Dog parks are also great places for exercise. However, just like playgrounds for our kids, dog parks hold hidden dangers, such as opportunities to catch whatever sickness might be going around, to get bullied, and learn bad habits.

To ensure that your trip to the dog park is a fun and safe experience for your dog, take a look at our list of dog park tips and tricks. And have fun!

1. Make sure your dog is at least 4 months old and current on all vaccinations. Dog parks can be very dangerous for a dog that isn’t fully vaccinated or is too young to be exposed to certain infectious diseases and parasites.

2. Assess who’s at the park before you enter. See if the dogs in the park have the same energy as your dog (calm, high-strung, assertive, or submissive) and are good pairings with regard to size.

3. Keep your eyes on your dog at all times — don’t talk on the phone, get distracted by other dog park friends, or read a book. It is important to know what your dog and others around him or her are doing every moment you’re there.

4. Make sure your dog is under voice control. You need to know he’ll come when called, no matter what, to ensure that you can get him by your side and away from any scuffles or quarrels with other dogs.

5. Watch your dog and read his body language. Arguments and fights happen every day, at every dog park, even among the best dogs (just like with kids at a playground). Your dog is likely going to be aware of an impending tussle before you are: if he seems to become nervous, agitated, or on guard, call him and prevent any squabbles before they happen.

6. Remember, it’s the people at dog parks that ensure a safe and fun experience. If you feel like other pet owners might not have appropriate control over their dogs, it’s probably best to take your dog on a walk elsewhere, find a well-attended daycare with the opportunity for your dog to socialize, or just enjoy an afternoon in the backyard.

If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian – they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.

Spring Planting Guide

If you’re ready to get outside and get your hands dirty now that winter is over, there is nothing more rewarding than planting flowers. Planting some annuals that will give a pop of color to your yard is a great way to celebrate the spring. Here is our spring planting guide to give you a few ideas to kick-start your new spring flower bed.

Pansies

Pansies, or violas, are a great way to add color quickly to your garden. They come in a variety of shades of purple or yellow and can match any outdoor decor. They provide ground cover, generally not growing taller than a few inches, and prefer sun over shade as well as soil that drains well. You can plant them directly in the ground or in containers.

Petunias

There are dozens of petunia species, all with different colors and characteristics. They can tolerate pretty harsh conditions, except frost. That means it’s best to plant them after you’re sure the last frost has passed. Reds, purples and whites tend to be the most common colors for the flowers.

Geraniums

These flowers enjoy a more temperate climate and are good for either ground or container planting. They are perfect for hanging baskets, which accentuate your porch decor by adding color at eye level. There are many types of geraniums, but the annual flowers tend to be primarily purple.

Impatiens

Impatiens have become one of the most common garden annuals in the U.S. They come in bright, bold colors that can take your flower bed to the next level with yellows, oranges and bright pinks.

Phlox

This small annual flower is a great choice for filling in bald spots in your flower beds or containers. Most often found in shades of pink, white or purple, it’s an easy-to-keep annual that won’t take a lot of work to maintain.

Are you ready to plan your own spring flower beds? Call us today.

Amenities for a Healthier Home

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If your New Year’s resolution is to improve your health and wellness, your home can inspire you to do it. In fact, your living space plays a significant role in your overall well-being. 

A room dedicated to workouts can motivate you to reach your goals. And healthy, clean air and elements inspired by nature can make your home feel more open and calming.

Are you hoping to make some improvements in 2021? Check out these five home amenities. 

  • Air Filtration System: This can improve your air quality by reducing allergens and bacteria. Regular HVAC maintenance can also ensure cleaner air in your home.
  • Indoor Garden: Are you planning to focus on your mental health? Adding a calming indoor garden, a Zen garden or even just a few plants can help. Some plants can improve air quality, too, including English ivy and spider plants.
  • Home Gym: It could be as simple as adding a treadmill to an empty corner or as elaborate as converting an entire room into a workout area. If you’re tight on space, consider compact fitness equipment, like a yoga mat, resistance bands or free weights. 
  • Touchless Upgrades: Faucets, light switches, trash cans and door locks are high-contact surfaces. Replacing them with touchless alternatives can help you minimize contact with germs in your home.
  • Nonporous Countertops: Certain materials are more porous than others, allowing germs and mildew to be absorbed into the surface. Sealing them or replacing them with a nonporous option, such as quartz, may help you reduce the spread of bacteria in areas like your kitchen and bathrooms.

If your current property doesn’t inspire wellness, get in touch today. Together, we’ll find a home that better fits your goals.

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Make Your Yard Safe for Pets

Whether you have cats or dogs — or maybe both — in your house,  you want to keep them safe, healthy and happy. And your home extends to your yard. It is important to consider the common hazards to pets outside your home and learn what you can do to make your yard safe.

Following are ideas to get you started.

Remove Dangerous Tools

Dogs can be curious and can easily get into the tools you leave out in the yard. Make a space to properly store items that you would use for gardening or lawn maintenance so that your dogs can stay safe. Keeping these tools in a shed, garage or basement is a good first step.

Avoid Toxic Plants

Many plants are toxic to dogs and cats. Avoid planting these plants where your pets might decide to snack on them. Some popular but dangerous plants include the following:

  • Lilies
  • Begonia
  • Chrysanthemum
  • Daffodil
  • Iris
  • English ivy

Check with your local nursery to identify plants that are safe for your pets.

Remove the Dangers of Fleas and Ticks

Fleas and ticks pose a dangerous health threat to your dogs and cats. Make sure your pet is on a preventative medication if they will be outside. You also can restrict the habitats for fleas and ticks by removing long or dry grasses and keeping the lawn well maintained.

Install a Fence

The surrounding neighborhood also can pose hazards. Cars, other dogs and even some humans can pose additional threats to your pets. Installing a fence can give your dogs a place to exercise without the dangers of escaping or getting lost.

Build a Catio

The safest place for a cat may be indoors. But if you want to give your cats an outdoor experience, consider building a catio. This is a completely enclosed outdoor structure with plenty of places to climb that will enrich your cat’s experience while also keeping them safe from predatory animals, cars and feline diseases.

If you and your furry friends are looking for a new home, call us today.

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Planting Trees in Your Yard

Planting trees in your yard may not be as simple as heading to the nursery to buy a tree and digging a hole. Trees require some tender loving care to thrive in their new home. The following tips can help you get started if you want to plant a tree in your yard.

Think Before You Dig

The first step of planting trees has nothing to do with the trees at all. You need to make sure the place where you want to plant the tree is truly free space. Watch for underground utilities so you don’t damage your home’s systems or, worse, city lines.

Make a Shallow and Broad Hole

You don’t have to dig deep to plant a tree. They need room for their roots to grow, so a shallow but broad hole is the best bet. If you dig too deep, the tree may not be able to grow properly.

Inspect Roots

Once you have the right hole for the tree, remove the container. Now is the right time to inspect the roots. If anything is growing in a circle, untangle them to make sure the roots will have room to spread out once they’re planted.

Place the Tree at Proper Depth

Look for the place on the tree just above the roots where it begins to flare outward. This is the part of the tree that should be just above the ground. Place the tree at the right depth so that when you cover the roots, this will be the base of the trunk.

Fill in the Hole

When you fill in the hole with dirt, try not to pack it down too hard. Keep it a little loose, but make sure the tree is stable. You can stake the tree, but some experts suggest trees that are not staked can grow stronger and sturdier.

Care for the Tree

Now you can enjoy your new tree. Make sure to fertilize and water it regularly. Using mulch around the base of the tree will keep it healthy as well. If you do all of these things, you’ll enjoy the tree for the rest of the time you live in the home.

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