Moving In Winter: Avoiding Stress & Mess

posted in: Blog Articles, Moving, Pets | 0
winter, home, moving, stress-free, easy
Article written by Cindy Aldridge. Photo courtesy of Jill 111 via Pixabay.

 

When moving to Florida from a snowy state, try these moving tips…

 

Moving in the wintertime can be a good decision, in part because moving companies are often wide open where dates are concerned and they may have discounted rates as well.  It’s important to remember that the temperatures and weather will have a major impact on how the move goes.  From packing to making sure your pets are safe and comfortable, starting with a solid plan will help ensure that nothing goes wrong and your move goes as smoothly as possible.
It’s also a good idea to prepare your children and pets for the big day.  Not only will this help ensure their safety, it will give you peace of mind, so you can focus on getting things taken care of.  Plan ahead and keep communication open with your family so everyone is on the same page.  Plan ahead regarding things like turning off the utilities in your old home; this is important, since moving day will likely be pretty cold.

 

Cover your floors

Depending on what type of flooring you have, you’ll want to lay down something to protect it.  For hardwood and tile, you can tape down inexpensive plastic tablecloths to keep snow, ice and rainwater from being tracked in.  For carpeting, put down some old throw rugs in the areas where the most foot traffic will be on moving day.  It might help to move as many items as you can into one room near the door; this way, the movers can just grab them and go.

 

Heat one room

If the utilities will be shut off in your old home on moving day, consider placing a space heater in one room.  This way, you and the movers will have a warm place to go to take a break from the cold.  Just be sure you don’t leave any pets alone in a closed-up room with a space heater, as this can be dangerous.

 

Prepare your pets

Speaking of pets, it’s a good idea to make sure your animals are well prepared before the move. If possible, allow them to visit the new house so they can explore and get used to the new sights and smells.  You might also want to arrange for a pet sitter on moving day; this will not only help keep him out from under your feet, it will ensure that he’s safe and warm during all the commotion.  If you can’t line up a sitter, try keeping him in one closed-off room with his favorite toys, bedding, treats and a water bowl.  This will keep your pet happy and ensure that he doesn’t get loose during the move.

 

Keep an eye on the weather

In many states, winter weather can be highly unpredictable.  Keep an eye on the weather report every day and plan accordingly.  Be sure you keep a snow shovel and salt handy, in case you need to dig out the driveway or keep outdoor steps free of ice.  Ask the moving company about covers for your furniture in case of rain or snow.

 

Moving in the winter can be stressful if you aren’t prepared but, planning your move accordingly will help you stay on top of every aspect.  Keep communication open with your moving company and with any friends or family members who are helping; with good teamwork, you can make sure your move goes smoothly!

 

Don’t Hesitate: Costs Associated with Waiting

posted in: Blog Articles | 0

Around the United States, prices continue to rise in most markets.  If you’re waiting for the market to shift toward a “buyer’s market,” think again.  There are costs associated with waiting to buy a home…

 

Waiting Can Cost You

 

  • The median home price in 2016 was $281,400 and increased to $291,200 in 2017, per the United States Census.

 

  • Mortgage Interest Rates are rising and are expected to continue to edge higher. Analysts believe the average mortgage payment is expected to jump more than 12% year-over-year.

 

  • Disposable income likely won’t increase enough to make up for higher mortgage rates.

 

  • Data shows that an average monthly mortgage payment could rise as much as $100 within the next year.

 

  • Material costs are rising.  Windows, lumber, concrete and other materials are being invoiced at a much higher rate.  If you’re looking for a new home, don’t hesitate.  Now is the time to build your dream home.

 

If you’re serious about buying a new home, contact a local Real Estate Agent to begin the process or contact one of our experienced REALTOR® partners. We speak: English, Spanish, French, Vietnamese and Albanian. (727) 546-6611 or visit: americanhousingbuilders2.com

 

Fall Home Maintenance Checklist

Time to get your house prepared for the cooler months!

 

Autumn Home Maintenance

 

EXTERIOR HOME MAINTENANCE

 

  1. When performing fall home maintenance, start by checking the home’s foundation for cracks, then caulk around the areas where masonry meets siding, where pipes or wires enter the house and around the windows and door frames to prevent heat from escaping.
  1. Install storm windows and doors and remove screens.  Before storing, clean and repair screens, spray with a protective coating and place in a dry area of the garage.
  1. Inspect exterior walls to see if any paint is peeling or blistering on the house or outbuildings.
  1. Make sure the roof is in good shape.  Inspect for missing and loose shingles.
  1. After leaves have fallen, clean out the gutters and downspouts, flush them with water, inspect joints and tighten brackets.  Replace old or damaged gutters with new ones that have built-in leaf guards.
  1. Weather-strip your garage door.  Make sure the seal between your garage door and the ground is tight to prevent drafts and keep out small animals.
  1. Inspect your driveway for cracks.  Clean out and repair any damage with driveway filler, then coat with a commercial sealer.

 

INTERIOR HOME MAINTENANCE

 

  1. Have your HVAC system serviced and inspected by a licensed contractor.
  1. Change the direction of your ceiling fan to create an upward draft that redistributes warm air from the ceiling.
  1. Test and change the batteries in your smoke and carbon dioxide detectors.
 
PORCH AND DECK MAINTENANCE

 

1. Check the supports, stairs, and railings on porches and decks.  Be sure the handrails will support someone slipping on wet or icy surfaces.

2. Stain or paint wood surfaces to prevent warping, sun damage and splintering.  Guests will appreciate your home maintenance efforts.

Budget-Friendly Cleaning Advice for Dog Owners

posted in: Blog Articles, Pets | 0
Article Written by Cindy Aldridge. Photo courtesy of Pexels

Dog owners have a deep and lasting bond with their pets.  Our dogs become our best friends, our faithful companions.  They remain loyal and provide a lifetime of unconditional love and friendship. With all that love and companionship, there’s also great responsibility.  As a dog owner, you must care for and clean up after your pet each and every day.

Here’s a list of budget-friendly tips that will help you keep your home clean and you and your best friend happy and healthy…

 

Invest in a Good Vacuum

If you have a breed of dog that sheds, you have a few different options for removing dog fur and keeping your home clean.  One option is to keep your dog’s fur trimmed and groomed on a regular basis, if possible.  Another option is to move into a home that has hardwood flooring, which is easier to clean for most dog owners.  If you fall into the category of dog owners who have carpeted homes, you may want to look into a good vacuum cleaner.  Vacuums remove pet dander and fur from your home and they don’t cost a fortune.

However, it’s important to remember that your dog doesn’t understand what a vacuum is or what it does.  All Fido knows is that there’s a strange being in the living room making loud noises, and that can be terrifying to a dog.  Because the sound of your vacuum can excite or scare your dog, it’s important to look for a quiet vacuum cleaner.  Vacuums might cost you some money up front, but they’ll last for years to come, so take your time to compare different models.  Look for a vacuum that’s within your budget and still has the features that work best for your unique needs.

 

Clean the Air

Our dogs have adorable personality quirks — but they also have odors.  The last thing you want is for your home to smell like wet dog.  Air fresheners can go a long way in hiding the smell of dog in your home.  But of course, there are other ways to reduce pet odors.  First, bring nature into your home with some houseplants that are safe for dogs.  Next, consider an essential oil diffuser.  Essential oils are natural, safe, and an inexpensive way to improve the air quality in your home.  In addition to soothing your mind and masking pet odors, essential oils and aromatherapy can help clean the air with their anti-microbial properties.  The best oils for cleaning the air in your home include four thieves: eucalyptus, tea tree, lemon and clove or peppermint oil.

 

Obedience Training and Housebreaking

One of the most proactive ways dog owners can maintain a clean home is to properly train your pet.  This starts with housebreaking your dog and enrolling him or her in some obedience training.  Housebreak your puppy early and use puppy pads or newspaper in the home in case of accidents.  When your puppy is young, you need to take him or her outside more frequently to avoid accidents in the house.

Experts recommend using a piece of dog kibble or other food as a treat to reward the dog for displaying behaviors upon command.  After your puppy starts to learn basic commands, you can move on to more advanced activities.  For instance, once your pet has mastered the “drop it” command, you can begin teaching the dog to play fetch.

 

When All Else Fails

If you find yourself shaking your head in frustration because you’ve tried all these tricks and you’re still dealing with pet odors and accidents from a stubborn dog, don’t give up.  In addition to the tips listed in this article, you can look into common, low-cost sprays that will discourage your dog from marking territory in the house.  If all else fails and nothing seems to be working, take your dog to see a vet or a dog trainer.  It’s possible that your dog might have a medical condition that’s causing the issue.

After resolving any health concerns and spaying or neutering your pet, you might be surprised at how quickly most dogs are housebroken.  This means you’ll invest less stress and money into cleaning up after your dog, freeing you up to enjoy quality time together while bonding with your dog.

We Need Each Other

posted in: Blog Articles | 0

Builders need Realtors and Realtors Need Builders.  And, let’s face it – buyers love new homes.  American Housing Builders II is an experienced and well-respected builder in Tampa Bay.  Here are a few benefits of working with us…

 

  1. We appreciate our Realtor® partners by offering 3% cooperating commission, paid at the time of closing or at the “construction” closing (approx. 45-60 days after a contract is executed).  That’s the same amount of time as an existing home sale.  It’s not much different.
  1. A smooth transaction and a coordinated closing.  We’re happy to help explain the process and keep you abreast of what’s happening along the way.
  1. Buyers who execute a contract prior to construction can schedule an appointment with our design team to choose their own paint colors, fixtures.
  1. All our new homes come with a comprehensive “2/10” structural warranty that covers the home for 10-years.  In addition, we will field calls for the first year to help put your buyer in touch with the appropriate services. We love satisfied buyers.

 

Realtors® are Our Friends. Call or come in and talk to us about how we can help each other close more transactions with less hassle. It’s a win-win situation for everyone, especially the happy new home buyer that will send referrals your way.

 

3 Tips to Keep Your Dog Safe in Your New Home

posted in: Blog Articles | 0

Moving to a new home is both exciting and stressful. It’s a chance to experience a new location, decorate, meet new people, and make new memories. On the flip side, moving into a new home is a lot of work. You have to unpack and make sure everything is safe and secure. It also entails an adjustment period for everyone in the family, especially pets.

As you get settled into your new place, remember to take extra special care of your dog. Below are three suggestions that will help you protect your dog and ease him into the transition of a new location.

 

Install a fence

According to ASPCA, nearly 3.3 million dogs arrive at U.S. animal shelters every year, and only around 620,000 are returned to their owners. These numbers are drastic, so it’s easy to see why it’s important to have a fence that can keep your dog safe within the confines of your property. Your new place may already have a fence, but if it’s broken in places or not tall enough, there’s the risk your furry family member will get hurt, or even worse, will run away.

According to HomeAdvisor, the average price to install a wood fence is between $1,400 and $2,000. This may be more money than you want to spend, especially after making the purchase of a new home, but consider this: Would you rather invest in a fence that will keep your pup safe, or would you prefer dealing with the possibility of your dog escaping and not knowing if you will ever get to see him again? An escape is much more likely to happen if you don’t have a proper fence in place.

Store dangerous household and outdoor items in safe locations

Sure, it takes a lot of time sorting through everything after a move. You first have to figure out where everything is, and then, you have to decide where its location will be at your new place. Keep in mind that physically this can be hazardous, especially when boxes are stacked in several places, and cleaning products or items like rakes and other tools are left out in the open. Your pup will want to play in or investigate his new surroundings, so make sure to keep him in areas where he can’t accidentally consume laundry detergent or stumble upon fertilizer or pool chemicals out in the backyard. In addition, when you’re making decisions about where things should go, be sure to choose a locked location both inside and outside to store poisonous items and unsafe equipment.

Recreate the familiar and add new things one at a time

Familiarity can be very comforting to your dog as he adjusts to his new home. It’s helpful to set out toys that he enjoys playing with and to organize his crate or bed the same way as before (the way it was at the old house). It’s also equally important to keep identical feeding and walking schedules to maintain a sense of routine. Since the neighborhood will be new to your dog, try to introduce him to nearby places, people, and other pets little by little. The idea is to pique his curiosity and excite him without making it overwhelming.

Dogs are the happiest when they’re with their families. As your pup gets to know his new world, spend as much time with him as you can. Play old games and introduce other activities like hiding food around the house to get him used to his surroundings. You can never go wrong with food and fun!

Article Written By: Cindy Aldridge, info@ourdogfriends.org, Ourdogfriends.org

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Create Moods With Color

posted in: Blog Articles | 0

Red – Red is stimulating, bold and often considered the color of romance and passion. Use it to make a room feel intimate or feature the color on one wall to visually manipulate the proportions of a narrow room. Red is timeless, contemporary and can make a small dining alcove feel like a destination.

Orange – Orange conjures images of citrus fruit or a summer sunset and represents happiness and innovation. It has a reputation for being overwhelming, but variations like apricot and terra-cotta can inspire relaxation. A deep orange can feel bold during the day and lend a cozy, warm glow in the evening.

Yellow – Yellow adds optimism, prompting feelings of happiness in all who enter. It activates memory, stimulates the nervous system, promotes communication and sparks creativity. Control the hue and you control the mood. Muted yellow works well as a soothing neutral. A sun-kissed yellow brings the warmth of summer inside your home. A pale yellow can make a compact room feel larger.

Green – Green represents growth, renewal and prosperity. The soothing quality of green makes it ideal for any room. Turn your bathroom into a relaxing spa-like retreat by using blue-greens mixed with gray and white. If you want more drama use a rich, emerald-green palette and integrate playful patterns.

Blue – Arguably, the world’s favorite color. Add serenity and softness to any space by using the color blue. It represents wisdom and loyalty which is why many military and civic uniforms sport shades of this color. Simply observing this color causes the body to produce chemicals which calm the nerves and sooth one’s soul.

Purple – Historically, the robes of kings and queens were created from this rich color, associating violet with wealth and sophistication. Scientifically speaking, violet is known for stimulating brain activity used in problem solving. When used correctly, controlled doses of violet can bring a sense of mystery and wisdom to a space.

Pink – Associated with romance. Certain shades of pink, when paired with otherwise masculine colors, can create a gender-neutral space. Hot pink is a great way to add a feminine touch to more masculine hues such as navy blue and black.

Interest Rates ↓ Down

The time is now to buy a new home

 

Long-term US mortgage interest rates declined last week, after a steady rise over the past year that lead to our highest-level mortgage interest rates in more than four years.  Freddie Mac reported that the average rate for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage recently fell from 4.58 percent to 4.55 percent.  One of three great reasons to buy a home right NOW…

 

Ask any professional Realtor® why it’s time to buy and they’ll tell you:

  1. Today’s interest rates will likely continue to increase. But what does that mean for you as a home buyer?

Imagine your mortgage principal is $200,000.  If you secured your mortgage with a 3.87% interest rate, the total interest you’d pay over the course of the loan will be $138,571.  Now, if you secured a mortgage with a 5% interest rate, the total interest you’ll pay over the course of the loan climbs to $186,152, a difference of $43,581!!!

Locking-in a lower interest rate will save you thousands of dollars, which is why securing a loan now is in your best interest.

  1. Homes are becoming more expensive. Home prices have been steadily rising for over 5 years.  Extensive labor shortages and spikes in material costs are causing home prices to climb.
  1. If you wait, you’ll have fewer homes to chose from. Low inventory (when there are too many people buying homes and not enough homes for them to buy) drives up home prices, resulting in less inventory for the home buyer to choose from.

 

Fun Fact: In October of 1981, the average mortgage interest rate for 30-year mortgages reached an all-time high of 18.63%.

Spring Home Maintenance Checklist

posted in: Blog Articles | 0

Use this Spring Home Maintenance Checklist to Get Your Home Ready for Summer!

 

Exterior Home Maintenance:

 

  1. Check the home’s foundation for deterioration and use caulk around the areas where masonry meets siding, where pipes or wires enter the house and around the windows and door frames to prevent heating/cooling from escaping.
  2. Inspect exterior surfaces for weathering and peeling paint.
  3. Be sure that water doesn’t pool around your foundation.
  4. Inspect windows and doors for broken glass, breached seals and damaged screens.
  5. Ensure window and door hardware operates properly.
  6. Check roof for missing, loose or damaged shingles, flashing, fascia and soffits.
  7. Clean gutters and downspouts, flush them with water, inspect joints and tighten brackets. Replace old or damaged gutters with new ones that have built-in leaf guards.
  8. Examine plumbing supply valves and water heater for leaks and corrosion.
  9. Inspect sinks, showers, toilets and bathtubs for leaks.

 

Interior Home Maintenance:

 

  1. Check the attic and ceiling for water intrusion. Look for moisture on ceilings and around windows and doors.
  2. Check stairs and railings for loose or damaged parts or materials.
  3. Test smoke alarms and change the batteries every 6 months.
  4. Inspect tile grout and re-grout as necessary to prevent deterioration.
  5. Check the caulking around showers, bathtubs, sinks and toilets.
  6. Clean or service your HVAC system and change the air filters.
  7. Remove materials and household items, from around the system, that may prevent air-flow.
  8. Have an electrician test circuit breakers and ground-fault/arc-fault interrupters.

 

Porch & Patio Maintenance:

 

  1. Check the supports, stairs and railings on porches and decks. Be sure the handrails will support someone slipping on wet or icy surfaces.
  2. Check that your mailbox is functioning and conforms to the USPS Guidelines.
  3. Inspect outdoor light fixtures and replace the light bulbs.

Preparing Your New Home for the Visually Impaired – Written by Jackie Waters

posted in: Blog Articles | 0

 

One of the major causes of accidents in the home is lack of preparation – is your new home prepared for the visually impaired? If you’re experiencing loss of vision or low vision, there are certain steps you need to implement in your home to maintain safety and functionality. Have a family member or close friend assist you in making the changes necessary in your home and give yourself time to get familiar with your new surroundings. Ensuring your safety and that of others is the best way to navigate and adapt to living with a visual impairment.

 

If you have been a resident in your current home for quite some time, chances are you have accumulated a lot of belongings. While you have the help, sort through everything and rid of anything that is no longer of use or deemed to be potentially hazardous. This one step alone can lessen your chances of an accident tremendously. Store clothing in the proper dresser or bin, and allow yourself to get acquainted with your sense of texture and touch. Use your hands to locate identifying factors on your clothing such as buttons and zippers. Mark your dressers with bump dots to help you locate your clothes with ease.

 

When it comes to your entertainment areas, you will want to make sure a clear walkway is in place. Eliminate bulky furniture and move tables and chairs closer to the wall. Keep all plugs and cords out of the floor as well. Check your stairs for loose or raised carpeting and have it replaced immediately. Be sure to place non-slip rugs or tape in your tub or shower and install grab bars where needed. Riding of clutter and creating space guarantees you the ability to be able to move about freely and comfortably without the stress of slipping or falling.

 

Your kitchen will be the next area of concentration, as it houses the most hazardous equipment in the home. Use a tactile pin to place raised marks on all appliances that have settings. Mark your coffee maker, oven, stove settings as well as your microwave. You want to prevent the chance of burns, fires and accidents.

 

Your pantry and refrigerator should be stocked in an order that will be easy for you to reach in and grab exactly what it is that you want. Store all your items on designated shelves and label each shelf. Get in the habit of putting things away right after use, as repetition will aid you in becoming more comfortable around the home. If you have guests, make them aware of the labels and ask that they place everything the use back where it belongs. This eliminates stress and confusion and creates habit, which is a key element in asserting your independence.

 

You will also need to have a landline phone installed in your home as well. There are several options available for the visually impaired, some with a cord and others without, depending on your preference. It is wise to invest in a phone with a large keypad to enable you to see the numbers as you are dialing.

 

Having a vision impairment does not have to be a burden on you or your loved ones. In fact, your quality of life can remain the same if not better as you adapt. Adjusting to your circumstances will take patience and effort on your end —but it can be done. Should you find yourself feeling alone, or frustrated, there are several support groups for those who are visually impaired. As always remember to be kind to yourself as you embark on this new phase of your life.

Save

1 2 3