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Help your pet make a smooth move too!

4/11/2018

Moving can be stressful for every family member – including the four-legged ones. Every animal reacts differently to new living quarters, and temperament has a lot to do with it. Some pets take a move in stride, while others exhibit anxiety or insecurity for days or weeks.

Here are 5 things to consider as the big move approaches and after you're in your new home.

1. A little help from the vet
Ask your veterinarian for recommendations on easing the transition. If your pet is generally anxious or high-strung, it might be worth asking your vet whether a mild calming medication might help during the transition period. It's also not uncommon for vets to prescribe gentle stress relief for during travel.

2. Time to explore
Upon moving in, give your pet time to explore the house gradually, rather than letting it loose to roam at will. Limit it to one area – perhaps the kitchen – for a few hours until it calms down. Show the pet where you've placed its familiar items like the food dish, water bowl and bed. You might want to keep a dog on a leash for an initial home tour. If you have a yard, avoid letting pets out unsupervised for several days until you're sure they can't climb or dig out from under the fence.

3. A walk in the park
Help release anxiety and pent-up energy by take your dog for a walk and sniff through the neighborhood. While people learn about a new place primarily by visual cues, dogs depend on their noses.

4. Helping the feline in your life
Territorial by nature, cats often experience more issues with moving than their canine counterparts. Keep your cat safe in its carrier upon arrival, placing it in a quiet area. When the hubbub dies down, let it out in an enclosed room away from main traffic areas. Provide your cat with familiar objects, such as a bed, litter box and toys. Encourage it to explore the room, perhaps by strategically placing cat treats.

5. Update pet IDs
Amid the hustle and bustle of the move itself, don't forget to update your pet's identification information before you move. This way, if Fluffy or Fido slip out the door, anyone who finds them can easily return them to their new home. Also, some municipalities require licensing within a certain time frame of moving. If your pets are microchipped, contact the registration company and give them the new information.

Smart home features catch current buyers eye!

3/21/2018

Fresh paint on the walls, professional staging and an asking price that ends in 999 — when you're selling your home, you'll do whatever you can to help it stand out and sell faster. Because the National Association of Realtors is predicting modest growth for the 2017 real estate market, as a seller you want every edge you can get. And on the heels of the popular Consumer Electronics Show in January, perhaps that edge is a smarter home.

"Smart home features are designed to make homes more convenient, appealing, secure and energy-efficient — all of which are bonuses when you're trying to sell a house," says Geoff Lewis, president of RE/MAX, LLC. "Sellers who want to move their homes faster may benefit from adding smart features that make their properties more appealing to tech-minded buyers."

According to IHS Markit and CNBC, 80 million smart home devices were delivered worldwide last year. That's a 64 percent increase from 2015.

Here are six trending smart home features that might catch buyers' attention and help sell your home faster:

Keyless/remote entry door locks

Have you ever left the house and worried that you left the front door unlocked? If your home is equipped with a keyless/remote entry door lock — available from multiple manufacturers — you can use an app on your smartphone to lock the door from wherever you are. Some manufacturers make versions that will also send a text or email to your phone when the door opens. Locks that can be programmed with multiple entry codes also allow you to see who comes and goes and when.

Smart lighting

From lighting automation that allows you to control lights remotely and wirelessly, to energy-efficient LED bulbs that can change color to match your mood and decor, lighting has come a long way. Some smart lights work in tandem with home automation systems to allow you to turn them on or off, or even dim them, from an app on a smartphone or tablet. Others require no communication hub and can be controlled directly from your mobile device. You can also put some smart bulbs on timers (using your wireless device), sync them with certain TV shows or movies, and integrate them with security cameras and thermostats.

DIY security systems

Don't want to sign a contract or deal with complex security systems? Install-it-yourself security systems are affordable and offer security features like cameras, sensors, motion detectors and alarms or sirens, without the need for a security service to monitor them.

Smart appliances

The Internet of Things (IoT) — everyday objects that have network connectivity — includes a growing list of smart appliances. Many manufacturers are offering washers, dryers, refrigerators and other home appliances that can communicate with you — and each other — wirelessly. Many can be controlled remotely from your smartphone — so if you leave the house and can't remember if you turned off the stove, you can check in and turn it off using your smartphone app.

While appliances aren't always included in a home sale, they do make for interesting features that keep your home top of mind to buyers.

Smart plugs

One of the easiest, most affordable smart home upgrades you can make is to add smart plugs to your home. These Wi-Fi-enabled plugs fit existing outlets and can be controlled from a smartphone app. Plug anything into a smart plug, like lights or a television, and you can turn it on or off remotely, track energy consumption, or even create an on-off schedule.

Temperature controls

Programmable thermostats were just the beginning; today's home temperature controls are even smarter. Like other smart home features, smart thermostats can be controlled remotely from your mobile device. You can program them to make automatic temperature adjustments and then use your smartphone to override the program like turning up the heat on a particularly cold day. Some smart thermostats learn from household behavior and adjust the temperature to meet your family's needs and save energy, while others adjust based on the number of people in a room. And several can now be operated via voice-controlled virtual assistants.

"Many of these smart home features are surprisingly easy and affordable to install," Lewis says. "Sellers who are open to the idea of investing a little money to possibly help get a speedier sale, may want to consider adding the smart features buyers will be looking for in 2018."

 

Thinking about renting out your home during events in town? Read this first.

2/21/2018

Once upon a time, the idea of renting out your home to a stranger while you left for vacation was considered quite odd.

Enter changing consumer attitudes, the "sharing economy" and online services such as Airbnb, FlipKey (owned by TripAdvisor) and VRBO (owned by HomeAway, which is now owned by Expedia).

Today, renting a room in your house (or the entire house) to unknown travelers isn't an outlandish concept. Short-term rentals provide an income opportunity for owners and a unique way for visitors to experience a city. What better way to get the local experience than staying with – or renting from – locals?

If you think you're up to being a host of a short-term rental, here are three things to keep in mind.

1. Legality

The rise in popularity of Airbnb and other sites hasn't been without its controversy. There are concerns that short-term rentals threaten the jobs of hotel workers, and that a short-term rental doesn't have to pass the same certifications and inspections of regular hotels. Finally, many investors are buying properties with the intent of renting them out, which takes housing off the market in areas with already limited inventory (check out this article from The Los Angeles Times to learn more).

Some cities have enacted restrictions against short-term rentals. You may need to register and get a permit or a license – or you may not be able to host at all. Check with your local government to make sure you understand the laws.

2. Taxes

You don't need to report the money earned from the short-term rental of your home if you meet both of these requirements:

1. You rent it out for fewer than 15 days a year AND

2. You live in it for more than 14 days or more than 10 percent of the total days you rent it out during the year (this determines if the property is seen as a residence or a rental property by the IRS).

Still unclear about the taxes on your short-term rental? Forbes and TurboTax provide some more information, or you may want to consult with a tax professional.

3. Additional Costs

Renting out your home could mean an extra insurance bill. Check with your insurance agent to learn what your current policy covers regarding short-term renters. They may recommend increasing coverage. Airbnb does provide free primary liability coverage for up to $1,000,000 per occurrence, and many of the other sites have partnerships that make it easy to take out additional coverage, if needed.

In addition to insurance, you'll have to pay a percentage of the rental income to the website: Airbnb and FlipKey both charge a 3% host service fee, VRBO has an option to pay-per-booking or an annual subscription fee.

Looking for a permanent home in your favorite vacation spot? Search for properties on www.janeotoole.net

Happy Valentines Day to my house!

2/14/2018

How deep do your feelings go for the place you call home? Here are some indicators you're completely head over heels.

You know you're in love with your house when:

1. You can't wait to see it at the end of the day. In fact, you catch yourself daydreaming about being there.

2. You have trouble sleeping when you're away too long, and your own bed is the only place you want to be by the time you return.

3. You sometimes put its needs ahead of your own – like cleaning the gutters instead of watching the game.

4. You manage to return from most shopping trips with at least one item just for the house. "Those outdoor lights would look great on the garage." Sound familiar?

5. You seem to have more photos of all the great projects you've completed than you do of the people who live there.

6. You lose track of time on the weekends and sometimes stay there for days at a time.

7. You do everything you can to protect it because you would be devastated if anything bad ever happened to it.

8. You appreciate every one of its quirks. The creaking floors might bother someone else, but they make you feel like the house is happy you're there.

9. You feel the chemistry, but you can't explain it. It just feels like home – plain and simple.

Still struggling to get organized for 2018? Check out these Instagram user ideas!

1/31/2018

Is keeping your home more organized at the top of your resolution list? Whether you are buying, selling or staying put this year, the RE/MAX Social Media team has identified the top Instagram accounts that you need to follow in 2018.

 

1.The Home Edit (@thehomeedit)

Clea and Joanna's witty and hilarious Instagram stories are reason enough to follow, but the duo and their Nashville-based team are best known for home organization services and products that blend functionality and style. The Home Edit's Instagram feed features thousands of drool-worthy, real-life projects, along with tips on how to store everything from batteries to holiday decorations and even American Girl accessories. The best part? All storage products (and custom labels!) can be found in their online shop.

 

 

2. Emily Ley (@emilyley)
In Emily Ley's new book, A Simplified Life: Tactical Tools for Intentional Living, she helps readers who are ready to "pare down to what really matters" by asking them if the household item they are organizing is the best, the favorite or is necessary. During her 31 day Simplicity Instagram Challenge, Ley guides followers through one no-cost, daily step that takes less than 15 minutes to accomplish and will help in creating a more simplified life. Based on reactions from her followers, one of the most popular tips is throwing in a small load of laundry every morning, and putting it away that night, to combat piles of laundry from stacking up.

 

 

3.Marie "KonMari" Kondo (@mariekondo)
As the author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Marie Kondo provides guidance on how to declutter your home for good. Kondo's Instagram feed showcases drawers, closets and office spaces that are organized using the KonMari Method,™ which challenges organizers to only keep items that "spark joy". Once a room is organized correctly, Kondo argues that it will only take five to ten minutes to clean the room in the future.

What organization pros do you follow on Instagram that we missed? Share the handles below in the comments section.

Home Inspections do matter!

1/25/2018

One of the best pieces of advice you can heed when it comes to buying a house is to order a home inspection. Regardless of whether you're a first-time homebuyer or an old pro, you might have on rose-colored glasses when it comes to buying a house – your future home. Luckily, a certified home inspector has no emotional attachment to your new place and can impartially and appropriately identify structural, electrical and plumbing problems. Plus, this person can offer insight into the safety and value of the house.


During your home search, you'll probably notice the great front yard, charming breakfast nook and spacious bedrooms. What you won't notice, however, are the termites in the basement, nests in the chimney or cracks in the foundation. That's why it's important to speak with your real estate agent, who will be able to recommend inspectors who can reliably and responsibly check the nooks and crannies, walls and roofs.

The inspection will cost you several hundred dollars, depending on where you live, but it's a small price to pay to ensure your home is worth the investment. Usually conducted after an offer is accepted, the inspection also provides leverage for negotiating concessions with the seller before the sale is finalized. Based on the inspector's detailed report, you're able to alert the seller to all issues you'd like fixed or addressed before the sale is closed.

In other words, a home inspection allows you to know exactly what you're buying – and if it truly is the perfect place for you.

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