Keep Your Home Safe This Summer Wednesday, Jul 9 2014 

burglar2Summer is a great time to take a vacation and spend some time with the family away from home. Whether it’s a quick weekend trip or an extended get-away, your home may be at risk for a burglary. You’re probably wondering what makes a home an easy target for burglars and how can you protect yourself? Well, here are some quick tips to “think like a burglar” and keep your home safe this summer without spending a fortune on a home security system.

Keep a low profile:
Is your flat-screen TV or other spendy toys visible through a window from the street? Do you have an expensive vehicle parked in your driveway? To a burglar, those are signs that your home might offer a profitable haul. What can you do? Keep those expensive items concealed! And don’t make the mistake of advertising large purchases by leaving boxes at the curb.

Maintain visibility:
Tall shrubs and privacy fences provide burglars with cover so your neighbors won’t see them breaking in. Sure it’s nice to have some privacy, but you’ll want to keep your windows and doors visible to deter burglars. Make sure you install motion-activated floodlights around your home as well, to draw attention in case someone approaches after dark.

Lock your upstairs windows, and don’t keep ladders outside:
People often forget to lock upstairs windows—and burglars know it! Make sure all your windows are locked when you’re not home, and keep your ladders in a locked garage or shed so a burglar can’t use them to access upstairs windows.

Make it look like you’re home:
Empty houses are prime targets. Put timers on lights, televisions and radios to create the appearance of activity. Hire a gardener if you’ll be out of town for an extended period so your home looks well cared for. If a burglar thinks someone is home, they’re more likely to skip your house.

Secure doors and windows:
Burglars look for weak doors with old hardware that are easy to kick in. If your doors aren’t secure, replace the knobs, locks and hardware. Use long screws that help resist kick-ins, and consider adding dead bolt. If you have a doggie door, secure it with a lock.

Follow these tips to leave your home secure and your worries at home while you’re gone. Enjoy your vacation 

 

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New Year’s Resolutions for Your Home Tuesday, Jan 28 2014 

With the start of a new year, promises and resolutions abound. While many people may have personal goals for 2014, why not strive to make some positive changes on one of the most important investments you’ll ever make; your home! Here’s a great starter list of what home owners should try to accomplish this year on their homes…

duct
Lose Weight: A good place to start trimming your energy use is your HVAC ductwork. Ducts are notorious energy-wasters. Sealing and insulating your ductwork can improve the efficiency of your heating and cooling system by as much as 20%. You’ll make your home more comfortable, and a more-efficient system helps extend the life of your furnace, air conditioner, or heat pump.

Quit Smoking: The EPA lists indoor air quality as one of the top environmental health hazards. ventsThat’s because indoor air is full of potential contaminants, such as dust, mold spores, pollen, and viruses. You can help eliminate harmful irritants in your home by changing furnace filters regularly, using low-VOC paints when you repaint your rooms, and using localized ventilation in kitchens and bathrooms to remove cooking fumes, smoke, and excess humidity. Just make sure all your ventilation systems exhaust air to the outside of your home!

Get Out of Debt: budgetCreate a yearly budget for home improvement and maintenance to help prevent overspending and encourage you to put aside money for major replacements. Protect your home finances by knowing how much you’ll probably spend each year. The average cost of yearly maintenance and upkeep are about 1% to 3% of your home’s initial price.

clutterGet Organized: No excuses, that clutter has to go! Start by creating more storage space so you can stash stuff easily. Put up a high shelf between the walls of a narrow hallway, and tuck storage in out-of-the-way nooks, such as under-stairs spaces and between wall studs.
Water Conservation

Drink Less: The average household uses about 400 gallons of water each day, or almost $700 per year in water and sewer costs. Making a few simple changes, such as installing low-flow showerheads and toilets, can trim up to $200 from your annual water bill.
energy efficiency

Less Stress: If you want less to worry about, install low-maintenance materials such as fiber-cement siding, LED light bulbs and ceramic tiles, which are all designed for durability and long, trouble-free service.

Get a head start on these and let the savings amaze you…good luck on making 2014 a great year for both you and your home!

Last Minute Cleaning Tips Friday, Nov 1 2013 

Last Minute Cleaning Tips

Whether you’re selling your home and have only 30 minutes before a showing, or an unexpected, last-minute visit from your in-laws, these last minute cleaning tips will make your home look presentable in no time! If you’ve got little helpers at home, be sure to recruit them in helping with some of the easier tasks. Be sure to start with the main areas that visitors will see, and then move to the less visible areas if time allows. 

1.SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA De-Clutter: Grab a bag or basket and do a quick run around the house. Toss in all those piles of mail and paperwork lying around. Include all those toys, books, clothes and other miscellaneous items strewn about the house. Then you can just stick the basket in a closet, garage or other place out of sight! 

2. Quick Clean: Remove dust bunnies quickly using a hair dryer to dust bookcases, etc. and a broom to knock down cobwebs. Spot vacuum high traffic areas and spot clean floors with paper towels and an all purpose cleaner. Empty trash cans and use air freshener, especially in the kitchen and bathrooms. If you have pets, make sure to clean the pet hair off furniture and in any place it gathers. kitchen_utensils_s1

3. Kitchen: Quickly load the dirty dishes filling your sink and counters into the dishwasher. If it’s full and you’re desperate you can rinse off the dirty dishes and stash them in the oven! Just remember to remove them afterward. Obviously if you’re entertaining and need to bake in the oven this won’t work, but it’s a great trick in a pinch! Wipe down counters and stash extra appliances etc out of sight. 

4.bathrooms Bathrooms: Chances are your visitors will need to use the bathroom, and who likes a dirty bathroom?! Do a quick wipe down of the counters, sinks and mirrors. A quick scrub of the toilet never hurt either. If you’re selling your home, you can banish hard water spots by spraying water on the shower doors!

5. Set the Stage: Everything looks better in natural light, so make sure you open all the curtains to let in light and open up rooms. home-staging1Turn on all the lights and lamps if showing a property to sell, or to create a nice cozy mood for guests. You can spruce up your living spaces by draping a nice throw on the couch, lighting candles, setting the dining room table, playing soft music, and most importantly, getting the  pets out of the house!

You should be able to pull this off before your visitors arrive and have your home looking great! Good luck! 🙂

Decorate Your Home for Fall Tuesday, Oct 15 2013 

Decorate Your Home for Fall

fall decor4As the days become shorter and the temperatures get colder, it’s time to bring some warmth back into your home. You can bring the beauty of fall into your home using some of these creative ideas to help get you started!

Incorporate some subtle fall accents throughout your home. This ensures that they’ll blend with your existing décor. You can try adding seasonal style and functionality to your living spaces by draping cozy blankets across the backs of chairs and sprucing up neutral sitting areas with a splash of fall-inspired color. pumpkin-candle

Create a big impact with your fall displays by using contrasting colors. Try using a vase in a color that complements the leaves or flowers that you use to make them stand out and add more color to the room. Gourds are another fun fall decoration because of their various shapes, sizes, and colors. Whether they’re green, orange, or white, round, curvy, or both, gourds can add fall color and variety to your room. To keep it fresh try placing them in a basket, bowl, or even a serving platter to add an autumn touch to any space.
fall table
Make your table ready for the fall season by combining a variety of fall styles. Try draping your table in a plaid flannel tablecloth or a neutral tablecloth with a colorful fall runner on it. Top it with seasonal produce such as apples, pumpkins, and little gourds, and garnish the look with flowers and branches. Accents in warm, neutral colors such as brown, yellow, orange, and red add to the fall-inspired look. And don’t forget the candles, they come in some really yummy fall inspired scents.

A wreath is another perfect way to tie in fall decor to not only your front door but on mantels, walls, and more. Combine greenery with fall-color accents, such as fruits, nuts, or small pumpkins or gourds. The combination of colors and the natural look will instantly bring an autumn touch to the room.porch

Decorating outdoor spaces, including porches, patios and more is a great way to add a touch of seasonal flair to your home. Showcase it with an abundance of rich, vibrant color in your outdoor decorating using pumpkins, gourds, mums and other natural elements like hay bales, wheat and corn stalks.

The great thing about decorating for fall right now is that you can get a head start on it and you’ll be good to go on your decorating through Thanksgiving! Hope this gives you some ideas to spruce up your home for fall, one of the most beautiful seasons. Take advantage of nature’s beauty and enjoy a stunning & cozy Autumn-filled home!

Investment Property: Now is the Time to Buy! Thursday, Sep 19 2013 

Investment-property1Now is a great time to invest in a rental property.  If you’re thinking about investing in a rental property, experts say low home prices combined with low interest rates make this the best time in years to become a real-estate investor. What’s more, the real-estate market is finally starting to recover. When money is cheap to borrow and the houses are cheap to buy, it’s the best time to invest. While the timing may be right, these tips can help you, as an investor, take advantage of what might be the opportunity of a lifetime.

Know your options: Since not all investment properties are the same, it’s important to decide what type of property fits your plan. invest in property devonDo you want to be a landlord, or would you rather renovate and resell properties? Are you interested in apartment buildings and other commercial real estate, or in buying land that can be developed? First-time real-estate investors might want to start with residential housing, since commercial real estate and land development still face difficult market conditions.

Partner with experience: First-time investors should find a real-estate agent who is experienced in investment property deals and can help you locate promising properties. Look for brokers who expect to do business with you again and therefore will be much more careful with what they recommend.

Look for the right location: If you buy a property with hopes of renting it out, location is key. Homes in high-rent or highly populated areas are ideal; stay away from rural areas where there are fewer people and a small pool of potential renters. Look for homes with multiple bedrooms and bathrooms in neighborhoods that have a low crime rate. Renters drift towards a safe neighborhood, and if they have kids, they will want a good school district.  Think about potential selling points for your property as well;  If it’s near public transportation, shopping and other amenities, it will attract renters, as well as potential buyers if you decide to sell later. The more you have to offer, the more likely you are to satisfy potential renters.

investment-propertyHave capital lined up: Speak to prospective lenders about whether you have enough assets to handle the ups and downs that could come with investing. Even if you plan to rent out the property, you should always have enough saved up to pay the mortgage whenever there’s a vacancy. Even if you’re planning to fix up a home and sell it, you may end up holding onto it for several months in the current market.

Build a support group: Line up a support team who can take care of the different challenges that can occur so you can simply call them when an issue comes up. You might want to build relationships with an attorney to consult with on tenant issues, a property management firm to handle the day-to-day rental affairs and an accountant to help you understand the tax ramifications of investing. Don’t forget a maintenance man for any repairs that need to be made. The more support you have, the better you will be able to handle the issues that come your way.investment-property-calculator

Whatever you do, understand that buying investment property is an entirely different experience than buying your primary residence. When you buy your own home, you usually have emotions in it. When you go to buy an investment property, you need to put that aside and ask, ‘What makes sense?’

Fall To-Do List Wednesday, Sep 11 2013 

Fall-Checklist-edited-just-the-houseAs we transition from summer to fall, there are a few things a homeowner needs to start thinking about doing to their home. I personally love fall, it’s my favorite time of year! But with this beautiful change of seasons, comes a whole chore list of things to accomplish before the cold weather hits! Why not just get it done and over with so you can enjoy all those cozy evenings and not stress about all the work that needs to be done. Here are a few things to think about to help get you started…Its always a good idea to get a head start on these things before the weather turns or you get too swamped with the busy holiday season approaching. And remember, if you don’t feel comfortable doing some of these things, you can always hire a professional to help. That said, be safe, have fun and good luck!

 

Outside The House:

Outside

•    Clean and store patio furniture.
•    Touch up paint & sealer on trim, railings and decks.
•    Check caulk around windows and doors.
•    Inspect external doors, windows and garage doors & install weather-stripping, if needed.
•    Wash exterior windows.
•    Drain and store garden hoses. Install insulating covers on exterior spigots. Have sprinkler systems blown free of water.
•    Check gutters and downspouts. Clear of debris if necessary.
•    Have chimneys and flues inspected and cleaned if necessary.
•    Check your driveway and walkways for cracks and gaps and fix them if needed.
•    Rake, aerate and fertilize your lawn.

 

Inside the Home:
•    Test all smoke and CO detectors.Inside
•     Inspect all fire extinguishers.
•    Wash interior windows.
•    Turn mattresses front-to-back and end-to-end to equalize wear.
•    Schedule professional carpet cleaning. It’s the best time to open windows for ventilation, which helps speed the drying process.
•    Schedule a fall furnace inspection.
•    Change your furnace filter.
•    Install a programmable thermostat for your heating system.

Creating Your “Finding-a-New-Home” Checklist Thursday, Sep 5 2013 

checklist-300x225Buying a new home is a great investment opportunity, and many couples dream of raising a family and creating lasting memories in their new home. But, when it comes to shopping for a home, many homebuyers may be surprised by all the options they have when searching for property. Fortunately, there are a few ways potential buyers can narrow down their home search to help find them a property that meets their families needs.

 

The easiest and quickest way buyers can begin their home search is by choosing a real estate agent to work with (aka me). I will help you narrow down your home search by the simple process of elimination. The following options will help me better understand your unique needs by clearly defining the criteria you’re looking for in a home. So make sure you keep these options in mind and discuss the following with your family before meeting with me! It might help to think of it as the things that you NEED versus the things that you WANT! This will help you decide what’s most important to you and your family in a home.

 

The first thing you should determine is what I like to call your “must-haves.” These are the things that are non-negotiable when searching for a home. indexThese might include; number of bedrooms or bathrooms, single level or two-story, garage or lot size, or to find a home in a certain neighborhood or school district. Make sure you also let me know what your price range is. It’s always a good idea to talk to a lender first to get pre-approved for a home loan based on your unique financial situation. If you don’t have a lender, I can recommend a good one.  These “must-have” features should be clearly communicated to me so that I can focus on finding only the homes that meet your criteria. No point in wasting time showing you homes that don’t meet your needs and budget!

 

Sometimes, you might want extra features in a home. These are things that you don’t need to have, but would like to have if possible. These might include; double sinks in the bathroom, a master suite, three-car garage, or a specific floor plan. If the home has any of these features in addition to your must-haves, then great! If not, no worries, it’s not a deal breaker!  I will work to find you a home that meets all your needs AND has as many extra features as possible,because sometimes it’s the little things that may make a house feel more like a home.

 

Llocation-11399658astly, we all know that the old saying is true; it all comes down to “Location, Location, Location!” Choosing the right neighborhood for you as a buyer can be just as important as choosing the right home features. The neighbors, school district, crime rate, amenities, costs/fees and activities of a neighborhood will all play a part of a homebuyer’s life for as long as they live in the home, so it’s important to take these options into consideration as well when creating your list of needs and wants.

 

Remember, don’t get discouraged if it takes some time to find the right home, or if your wants and needs change throughout your home searching process. I will take all your information and use it to find you the perfect home! Finding a house that meets all your criteria is worth the wait!

Back to School Organization Ideas Wednesday, Aug 28 2013 

It’s that time of year! School is about to start and fall is just around the corner. Back-to-school is a great time of year to get back to order, back to routine and back to the comfort and joy that order and routine bring to your life. Take advantage of the clean slate in front of you by bringing some simple organizing strategies into your home, making the transition back-to-school even easier.  This post is designed to help you start the school year organized and ready to go! If you don’t have kids going back to school, you may just find an idea or two for yourself!

 

36th-Avenue-Back-to-School-ChartTo start, think about what’s working well in your daily routine…and what could use a pick-me-up? If mornings are chaotic (or just not your prime time of day) consider taking care of as many daytime preparations as possible the night before. Layout your clothes, pack the lunches, set out the breakfast dishes and cereal, pack the backpacks, and so on. Make your new systems kid-friendly so your kids can help you get things checked off your to-do list by having their own checklists of things to do! Give your kids some responsibility by having them dress themselves, make their beds, etc.

 

backtoschoolpinterest3Take advantage of the stores being chock-full of fun and inspiring school, craft, and office supplies. Set up a homework station where your kids can do their homework. Decide on the best spot in your home to set up homework central. Take into consideration how involved you need to be with homework and your child’s style. Once you have a place picked out, round up handy homework tools and supplies into a nearby bin, cabinet or drawer.

 

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Keep a family calendar and bulletin board. Use a large family calendar to keep track of the kid’s activities, due dates for school projects, school holidays, and so on.  The main point is to have one place where things ALWAYS go, so when you’re looking for that permission slip you know there is only one place it could have gone.

 

 

Delightful-Order-Homework-Message-CenterKeep household clutter at bay by corralling items into a put-away spot. Assign one for each family member. Install low coat hooks so your child can hang up his own coat and backpack at the end of each day. Create a simple system by the door to help you remember special items you need to take with you each day: gym shoes on gym day, violin on music day, and snacks on snack day.

 

Organizing-Made-Easy-lunch-organizingSet up a lunch center.A lunch from home is often a healthier alternative for your child. So make it easy to make lunches this year by following these simple steps. Create a spot in the pantry and the fridge for lunch-making supplies. Check lunch-boxes and food storage containers. Create a list of lunch ideas and plan lunchboxes and meals ahead of time. Figure out your weekly lunch menu ahead of time and prepare what you can the night or weekend before. Then have your kids help! They can be responsible for putting away their empty lunch box at the end of the day and even packing their lunch from the items you have ready in the fridge and pantry. This makes it easy for snacking too! Having healthy food options ready to eat and on-hand will make it easier AND keep you eating right! 

 

Keeping things organized and having your kids help will keep you on track and make the back to school transition a little easier! All of these things are great tools to use even if you don’t have kids. So take the nice long holiday weekend and get yourself on track before school starts! And don’t worry, less clutter will help keep your home looking good and in tip-top shape!

Get to Know Walla Walla Wednesday, Aug 21 2013 

7701935298_db4a789f3e_zWelcome to the Walla Walla Valley! This place I love to call home is an amazing blend of scenic beauty, award-winning wineries, delicious restaurants, cultural inspiration, outdoor adventures and small town friendliness. Downtown Walla Walla is where you begin to discover what makes Walla Walla so special with its unique merging of the past and the present. A stroll down Main Street showcases an exceptional mix of shops, boutiques, cafes, bookstores, tasting rooms, restaurants and more. Add in the numerous displays of public art and special events, like Feast Walla Walla, the Farmers Market and outdoor concerts, and you start to see why our downtown has been recognized as one of the best small town Main Streets in the country. Walla Walla has long been known as one of the most abundant agricultural areas in the nation, producing crops of wheat, asparagus, strawberries and the famous Walla Walla Sweet Onion. And don’t forget the wine industry, which has prospered and supports more than 100 wineries. Walla Walla Wine Country offers the rare opportunity to experience not only world-class wines but to meet the winemakers carrying on the wine tradition. Here, tasting wine becomes an entirely different and wonderful adventure. There are many small towns only a short drive or bike ride away that offer even more unique museums, dining and spirits, shopping and community events. Whether you’re looking for something to do, a place to stay, a hot new restaurant or the perfect winery to spend an afternoon, Walla Walla has got you covered! And if you find that this is a place you want to call home, I’d be glad to help you get settled. If you’d like further information about our valley and our local real estate market, you can call or email me. In the meantime, check out this great video that showcases all that Walla Walla has to offer.

A Recipe for Success Friday, Apr 5 2013 

Thinking of buying or selling? There’s more to it then you think. Make sure you have the right “recipe for success” by choosing me as your Realtor! If you’re in the market to buy or sell, or even if you just have some questions for me, please don’t hesitate to give me call at (509) 301-7445 or send me an email meaton@cbfr.biz and I’d be glad to give you any assistance you need.  Check out my video here to get to know me a little better, and see why choosing me as YOUR Realtor is the right choice! When you think of real estate, I hope you think of me! 🙂

 

 

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