Moving? Tips On Keeping Your Pets Safe

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pets2Moving day, just imagine it: The sun is shining, the weather is just perfect, and you’re about to close one chapter and open a brand new one. There’s so much possibility ahead! Although it may be exciting and full of promise for you, moving can be a terrifying event for your pets, even if you’re just moving down the street. Fortunately, you can take a lot of steps to protect your furry pals in these high stress times.

Your Moving Day Checklist: Pet Edition

Whether you’ve got a dog that you love, a cat that’s a handful or a flock of chickens, moving with animals takes patience and attention to detail in order to help them get through the process with the least amount of stress possible. Remember that your pet doesn’t understand what’s happening and that the noise, strangers and general chaos can be terrifying for them.

Before you so much as begin to pack, it’s important to consider what’s going to happen with your pets during your move. Here are some things you can do to keep them safer and happier during the whirlwind that’s to come:

  • Start practicing now. It’s likely your pet will need to be confined to a crate, bathroom or other safe space so that the door can be left open to move things out. Before the move starts, you can begin to get them used to the idea of being confined. Start by staying in or near the space with them and rewarding them when they relax (this could take some time at first, so be patient). As they get better at being confined with you, go farther and farther away, and for longer periods, rewarding them as they adjust to the situation.

Getting your pets used to being confined like this can help prevent injuries to them should they frantically scramble to escape, and can help you better see what kinds of things in those spaces may be potentially dangerous when they’re left unattended on moving day.

  • Ask your vet – Your vet has all kinds of things in their dispensary for these one-time highly stressful events. They can make a specific recommendation based on your pet’s history and particular panic buttons, and also give you more behavioral tools to your own toolbox to help your pet cope. Absolutely ask your vet for help before you even book a mover or a moving truck.
  • Take frequent breaks – If you can, stretch your move out over a few days so that your pets can have a breather from their safety spot. Depending on just how much there is to move, it’ll be easier on you, too. For example, you might move a lot of boxes on Monday, take the small appliances over on a Wednesday and then move the furniture on Friday. Giving your pet some time to shake off the stress will make the move a lot easier for them.
  • Have their personal items – Their bed, toys, treats, food and water bowls with plenty of food and water available.
  • Consider a pet sitter. Longer moves may require you to be away for a while, which turns an already stressful situation into a potential for real trouble. A pet sitter will help fill your shoes while you’re moving, or while you’re taking care of getting the new place cleaned up and ready to go if your pet is very prone to stress in new situations. Just make sure to introduce the pet to the sitter ahead of time so they can get to know one another.
Great Lakes Home Team is here to help you with your real estate questions or needs. We have helped so many families sell their home or find their dream home. Do you want to know how much is your home worth is worth, Click here?
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Security Cameras – Are they safe?

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ring pic

When it first hit the market, the Ring doorbell system seemed like a great way to keep your home safe. Not only do the cameras on the doorbell let you see who’s at the door, they also let you check to see who has come to visit when you aren’t at home. You can even use the video recorded by Ring to see if a missing package got delivered or to try and figure out who put that pink flamingo in your yard.

In the past few years, however, there have been some concerns about the safety of these video doorbells. Some reports suggest that the doorbells can be hacked, and certain groups have raised privacy concerns centered around how the doorbells operate. If you’re wondering how legitimate these issues are and whether Ring is safe for you to use in your house, here are some things to consider.

How Ring Works

Ring doorbells are smart devices that provide you with a video camera unit by your front door. A motion detector on the unit alerts you that there is someone approaching the door, giving you the option to see them as well as hear what they say and even talk back to them. Unlike old-school doorbell intercoms, Ring connects to your home network and to the cloud so that you can access video and audio regardless of where you are or what you’re doing. Video clips are even shareable if you desire. Given its popularity, in recent years Ring has expanded to offer full-home security options and even smart lighting as well.

Ring Hacking Concerns

One of the big safety concerns that people have regarding Ring is that there have been cases reported where a hacker or other unwanted third party has gained access to the Ring units in someone’s home or to their cloud-based video vault. An exploit in the Ring software was also discovered wherein, in certain cases, details about your home network (including the access password) could be broadcast by the Ring unit in unencrypted plain text; if a hacker were able to get access to this broadcast, they would be able to log on to your network, and potentially access the computers and other devices that were also connected.

Ring and Privacy Issues

On top of the hacking concerns, the fact that Ring begins recording video in front of your house when motion is detected raised some concerns that it might violate people’s privacy. The fear was that even people who weren’t approaching your home could be captured on film if they were walking by when the camera was activated or if the motion sensor was able to detect movement beyond the boundaries of your property. For those who worry about surveillance or are afraid that videos of them might be shared without their knowledge or consent, this makes Ring-related privacy issues a very real concern.

Is Ring Safe?

The concerns that people have about Ring units being hacked or invading their privacy when out in public are legitimate, though for the most part they remain a very small problem. The issue with Ring broadcasting information in plain text was caught before it could be exploited and has been patched, and the company has instituted additional login security measures to help prevent unauthorized access to accounts. And while there is the potential for Ring cameras to pick up motion outside of a user’s property, its sensors have a fairly limited range and should only be able to detect motion relatively close to your front door.

This isn’t to say that there aren’t any concerns to using Ring, of course. Hacking concerns can be reduced by making sure that both your home network and any devices that connect to it are secured with strong passwords. You should also take care to position cameras and motion detectors so that they don’t face your neighbor’s house, and use caution when setting up devices like these if you have a very small yard. With a little care, however, these devices should be safe to use.

Keeping Your Home Secure

Home security is a serious concern, and it’s important that you can trust the devices you use to secure your home. If you’re in need of a more professional security solution, check out HomeKeepr. Sign up for a free account today and we can help you find the security pros that you need to select and install devices that are both safe to use, and trustworthy and reliable when you need them.

Great Lakes Home Team is here to help you with your real estate questions or needs. We have helped so many families sell their home or find their dream home. Do you want to know how much is your home worth is worth, Click here?
Get your FREE Booklet – 10 Things Every Homebuyer Needs to Know. Get started on the correct path to finding your Dream Home!

 

Lawn Mowing Best Practices

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mowing

Whether you love mowing the lawn or hate it, it’s a job that needs to be done. As with most things, though, there’s a difference between doing it and doing it well. If you find yourself wondering why your neighbors have an amazing lawn while yours looks all the worse for wear, it could be more than just a matter of perspective; it’s possible that the grass really is greener on the other side.This doesn’t have to be the case, though. Part of the problem might be how you’re caring for your lawn. If you haven’t put much thought into the specifics of yard care, here are a few things to think about. Changing how you think about mowing the lawn can have a big impact on the lawn itself, and your grass will thank you for it.

Prep Your Mower

Too many people approach the beginning of the mowing season the same way that they do the entire rest of the season: they put some gas in the mower and go. This is a good way to damage your lawn and wear out your mower at the same time. Start each season with an oil change and fresh gas, and check your mower blades for cracks, dullness or other signs that they need to be sharpened or replaced. Keep an eye on your grass as you mow; if it’s becoming ragged, this is a sign that your blades are getting dull again. Even a little bit of mower maintenance will make the cut easier on your lawn and keep your mower running in tip-top condition.

Learn Your Lawn

A lot of people think that grass is grass, but there are actually a lot of differences between grass species. Take a little time to find out what sort of grass you have growing in your lawn. If necessary, you can take a sample to your local agricultural extension office to get the job done. Once you know what kind of grass you have, you can learn the seasons when it actively grows, what sort of water and fertilizer needs it has, and even details about how it should be cut. If you need to reseed part of your lawn, knowing the existing grass type will also ensure that you get the right type of seed so that everything matches.

Cut to the Right Height

If your lawn is going to flourish, the grass needs to have enough blade area to absorb sunlight to meet its growing needs. Cutting it too short can damage it, causing the grass to wilt or brown, in some cases even killing off patches. As a general rule you’ll often hear that you should leave around 3 inches of grass when you cut, but this can vary depending on the type of grass you have. If in doubt, you can set the blade height between the 3-inch to 3 ½-inch mark to be safe, but you’ll have much more control over your lawn if you learn the grass type and find the optimal cutting height based on that.

Mind Those Clippings

It’s usually best to leave your clippings on the ground, as they provide much-needed nutrients to the lawn as they decompose. If you don’t like the look of them, consider a mulching blade and guard for your mower to ensure that they get cut into smaller pieces, or make multiple passes over the same area. The main exceptions to this are the first and last cuts of the year; in those instances, your lawn will do better if you bag the clippings instead.

Adapt Throughout the Year

One important thing to keep in mind is that grass is a living thing and grows differently depending on the time of the year and the local weather conditions. During the heat of the summer, make your lawn more drought resistant by adjust your cut height up a little; this gives the grass more blade area to collect dew on. In early spring and into the fall, cut less often to avoid shocking the grass. Even the direction of your cuts is important, especially if it’s been raining a lot; to prevent damaging the grass or compacting the soil too much, change direction every two or three cuts, switching to a cutting pattern around 90 degrees off from what you’ve been doing.

Keep It Under Control

A well-manicured lawn can be a big job. Fortunately, there are professionals out there who can take that burden off your shoulders. If you need to find a lawn service that comes highly recommended, sign up for a free HomeKeepr account today. You’ll be able to find a service based on real recommendations for mowers and landscapers that best match your specific needs.

 

Great Lakes Home Team is here to help you with your real estate questions or needs. We have helped so many families sell their home or find their dream home. Do you want to know how much is your home worth is worth, Click here?
Get your FREE Booklet – 10 Things Every Homebuyer Needs to Know. Get started on the correct path to finding your Dream Home!

Protect Your Credit

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Planning to buy a home? Protect your credit score

credit score

Whether you’re thinking about buying your first home or your next home, your credit score will play a huge role in determining what kind of mortgage rates are at your disposal. That’s why it’s vital to keep your score as pristine as possible throughout these unprecedented economic times. If you’re having trouble paying your bills, follow these tactics to keep your credit score protected.

 Contact Your Lenders

There’s nothing wrong with asking your lenders for help in your time of need. In fact, some may already have programs in place to help individuals affected by the downturn. See how the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recommends discussing these issues with various types of lenders.

Know ALL of Your Accounts

Between student loans, car loans, mortgages, credit cards, and all the other lines of credit at your disposal, it’s sometimes hard to remember all of your accounts, but nothing could be more important. Knowing your accounts, and their statuses, is the only way to know if someone opens or closes an account without your consent.

Monitor Your Scores

That’s right, “scores.” There are three credit bureaus (Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax), each with their own scoring system. Different lenders trust different bureaus, so it’s important to know where you stand with each of them.

Read Your Reports

While scores are a great gauge of your credit, reports are where you’ll see all the information each bureau uses for their calculations. By keeping a close eye on your reports, you’ll be able to address any suspicious activity before it gets out of hand.

Great Lakes Home Team is here to help you with your real estate questions or needs. We have helped so many families sell their home or find their dream home. Do you want to know how much is your home worth is worth, Click here?
Get your FREE Booklet – 10 Things Every Homebuyer Needs to Know. Get started on the correct path to finding your Dream Home!

 

Get Your House Ready Now, Sell Later

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Get your house ready now, sell later

Get Your Home Ready

  1. Embrace Spring Cleaning

Now is that special time of year when baseboards and ceiling fans finally get the attention they deserve. Details like these may seem tedious, but a pristine home is guaranteed to grab your buyer’s attention.

 

  1. Unleash the Power of Paint

Whether you redo an entire room, touch up some scuffs, or add some pizzazz to your outdoor planters, a paintbrush can revitalize your living space like a magic wand. Best of all, it’s fun for the whole family.

 

  1. Tile Around

From backsplashes to bathroom accents, tiling is a simple and affordable way to add value to your home. Just find a pattern you like and start putting the pieces together.

 

  1. Fix Your Fixtures

If you’ve been contemplating a new kitchen faucet or fresh set of shutters, give in to your impulses and install them yourself. In less than a weekend, you can add another upgrade for buyers to rave about.

 

  1. DIY Furniture

You don’t have to be a master carpenter to build some of your own furniture. The internet is loaded with tutorials for everything from headboards to closet shelves. All you need are a few easy-to-find materials.

 

List inspired by tips from KW Research and the National Association of REALTORSⓇ.
Good luck with your home improvements, and feel free to send us your before and after photos!

Great Lakes Home Team is here to help you with your real estate questions or needs. We have helped so many families sell their home or find their dream home. Do you want to know how much is your home worth is worth, Click here?
Get your FREE Booklet – 10 Things Every Homebuyer Needs to Know. Get started on the correct path to finding your Dream Home!

 

 

Your Financial Health

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How to look after your financial health in times of uncertainty

Financial Health

During these uncertain economic times, many people are having difficulty paying their monthly bills. Whether you fall into that group or not, it’s important that you take steps to protect your financial future. Here are some considerations to take today to save you from budgetary burdens tomorrow.

  1.  Prioritize Your Expenses

The first and most important step to safeguarding your savings is to decide which bills are most vital to your livelihood. This worksheet from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau can help make those tough decisions a little easier.

  1. Cut the Excess

Once you’ve prioritized your expenses, you’ll have a good sense of what you need and what you don’t. Anything that falls into the latter category should be discontinued until a later date, and anything considered a necessity should be revisited each month to make sure it still belongs there.

  1. Know the CARES Act

The government’s $2 trillion emergency stimulus package is loaded with important information for US citizens. With benefits like eviction relief, a moratorium on foreclosures, and the opportunity to defer or reduce mortgage payments, the CARES Act has a lot to offer beyond a stimulus check.

  1. Try Negotiating

From landlords to cable providers, many bill collectors are showing extraordinary empathy during these unprecedented times. If they can’t defer or reduce your fees, they may be willing to add some other kind of incentive as a show of good faith. As the adage goes, “You’ll never know unless you ask.”

  1. Consider Your Credit Cards

Charges, whether recurring or one-off, can add up quickly on your credit card statement. Take the time every week to review your statements in detail and identify those one-off charges that are adding up. Then, consider which recurring bills are worth keeping and which should be cut. Lastly, consider calling up your credit card company to renegotiate annual fees or interest rates.

Additionally, don’t forget that refinancing your mortgage or shopping around for better rates on home insurance may lighten your financial burden. If you’d like to learn more about the low-cost, high-value options available through me – Keller Mortgage and Keller Covered – let me know.

These suggestions are only the beginning. If you’d like to discuss more ways to strengthen your bottom line, shoot us a text or phone call at any time. We may not have all the answers you’re looking for, but we will do whatever we can to find them.

Great Lakes Home Team is here to help you with your real estate questions or needs. We have helped so many families sell their home or find their dream home. Do you want to know how much is your home worth is worth, Click here?
Get your FREE Booklet – 10 Things Every Homebuyer Needs to Know. Get started on the correct path to finding your Dream Home!

 

Best Power Tools for DIYers

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Get Ready to DIY!

Tools

Now more than ever, DIY projects are everywhere you look. It seems like everyone is trying to be productive with the little extra free time on their hands, and hardware stores still have lines out the door. If you are just getting into the DIY world and are realizing some of the basic hand tools just aren’t cutting it anymore, it may be time to invest in some smaller power tools that work best for the do-it-yourself enthusiast.

 

1. 10” Sliding Miter Saw

With this tool, you can cut baseboards, frame out a door, and even more. Getting the saw with the slide allows you to cut more significant pieces.

2. Nail Gun

While a hammer and nail approach can work for most DIY projects, you will save yourself time and energy when you invest in a nail gun and air compressor. If you are into reupholstering, you may also want to consider a staple gun.

3. Rotary Sander

If you plan to strip any word surface, invest in a rotary sander. There are plenty of models available under $50 that will save you more time than you could have imagined.

4. Jigsaw

If you love making or updating wood furniture, a jigsaw may be a great addition to your tool bag. The jigsaw allows for cutting various shapes and detailed cutting.

5. Cordless Drill

The cordless drill should be one of your very first DIY tool purchases. You can use the drill for just about everything, from hanging shelves to drilling holes.

6. Air Wrench

The air or impact wrench is essentially a power socket wrench. This wrench is great when you are dealing with tight lug nuts and bolts or stripped screws. They give a high degree of torque without a lot of exertion on your end.

7. Circular Saw

If you need a fast and efficient way to make straight and bevel cuts, you will want to add the circular saw to your list of tools. They can be used by hand or mounted.

Pinterest is a great place to look for ideas to be creative. The time to start is now and have fun!
Great Lakes Home Team is here to help you with your real estate questions or needs. We have helped so many families sell their home or find their dream home. Do you want to know how much is your home worth is worth, Click here?
Get your FREE Booklet – 10 Things Every Homebuyer Needs to Know. Get started on the correct path to finding your Dream Home!

Home Entertainment For the Whole Family

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Homeentertainment

Home Entertainment For The Whole Family!!

One of the best things that we can do right now to protect both ourselves and our friends and neighbors is to stay home. Unfortunately, there are only so many times that you can watch Tiger King or listen to your kids sing along with Elsa on Disney+. You need something new to do, and it needs to be something that the whole family can enjoy while you’re all staying safe at home.

There are some unique opportunities available right now that may never be available again once this is all over. They provide experiences that the whole family can enjoy that aren’t just the same old TV shows. Though this is by no means an exhaustive list, here are a few activities that you might consider that would give your family some new things to do.

A Virtual Reunion

With record numbers of people working and doing schoolwork at home, more people are using video conferencing services like Zoom, GoToMeeting and Microsoft Teams than ever before. These services aren’t just for work, however. You can use them to get in touch with family from around the country, and even schedule a “virtual reunion” to catch up and check in with each other. This can be a recurring event, letting you stay connected with loved ones throughout the pandemic. You may even grow closer as a family despite the distance.

Museum and Zoo Tours

Even though museums and zoos are currently closed to the public, a number of high-profile museums and zoos have started offering virtual online tours for free. You can go online and view great works of art, watch animals relaxing during their downtime, and even see unique things like puppies getting to run wild in an aquarium. On top of these custom experiences, many zoos and similar facilities have webcams focused on specific exhibits that you can check out throughout the year.

Learn Something New

To help families pass the time, many online learning platforms are offering extended free trials so that people can pick up new skills or learn interesting things while in self-isolation. On top of that, some teachers and experts are streaming free courses on Zoom and other platforms as well. There is a wide range of content available for both kids and adults, meaning that there’s something for everyone to learn and enjoy.

Start (or Join) a Book Club

Reading is a great way to pass the time, and you can share that with the family by starting a family book club. The premise is simple: Everyone picks out a book, and once a week you get together and discuss what you’re reading. Even younger children can participate; let them pick out a book that they want you to read, and at the meet-up you can let them show off the book and tell everyone about it.

If you want a bit more social interaction with your book club, you can also look into online book clubs that are a bit closer to traditional book club offerings. These can have members from across the nation or around the world. Some of them operate on dedicated websites, and others use social media groups. Either way, there should be options available for most readers.

Listen to a Story

Even if you don’t feel like doing all of that reading, there are a good number of authors and celebrities doing podcasts and videos in which they read a variety of books or stories. Quite a few of these are aimed at children, but some of them are more tailored to adults as well. Levar Burton (of Reading Rainbow fame) has even recently launched a video version of his podcast Levar Burton Reads with a wide range of content.

A Night in at the Movies

Under ordinary circumstances, you’d be able to take the family out to see some of the many movies that would be in theaters right now. But that’s not possible now that all the theaters are closed. So instead, movie theaters are adapting. Special digital rentals are now available for recent box-office hits that ordinarily wouldn’t be available for rental yet, so that a wider audience can enjoy them. And some movies that were scheduled for early summer release, such as Trolls World Tour, are also making their debut via digital rental. So pop some popcorn and enjoy these new and recent blockbusters all from the privacy and safety of your own home.

Find out your Free No Obligation Home Value today – Get Now!

#greatlakeshometeam #KW1 #motherdaughterduo #homeentertainment

 

Mentor 4 Bedroom Ranch For Sale

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This renovated ranch home is much larger than it looks. Two newer Air Conditioners added and a newer furnace added as well. All new flooring Luxury Vinyl tile and carpet. The huge family room is open to the kitchen and adjoining enclosed patio. Newer windows and slider. All interior doors are new and most others as well. All the bedrooms have large closets. The master bedroom is huge with sitting area. Newer LED lighting and electrical panel. Large 2 car garage.

KEEP YOUR HOUSE SMELLING GREAT (EVERY SINGLE DAY)

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Fresh Smell   Have you ever walked into someone else’s home and were overwhelmed by how incredible it smelled? Or maybe you couldn’t wait to leave because there was a not-so-great scent as soon as you entered? Often, we become so accustomed to the way our own home smells that we don’t notice if the scent is bad or good. It can be frustrating to wonder what others think about the scent of your home. If you feel like your house doesn’t always smell fresh, follow these steps to make sure that it smells amazing all the time

ELIMINATE BAD SMELLS

  • Empty garbage cans regularly
  • Clean out your refrigerator once a week
  • Sprinkle baking soda or carpet deodorizer before vacuuming
  • Open the windows when the weather is nice
  • Invest in an air purifier
  • If you have pets, brush and bathe them often
  • Get rid of old musty towels
  • Use a daily bathroom cleaner spray to prevent mildew smells
  • Pour a little drain cleaner in your sinks on a weekly basis to get rid of any unwanted scents

ADD NEW SCENTS

  • Add a few drops of essential oils on your air filters
  • Use linen spray daily
  • Burn candles
  • Use a wax melter
  • Use homemade potpourri in your crockpot
  • Place car vent clips in your air conditioner vents
  • Buy fresh plants for your home
  • Invest in good-smelling cleaning products with scents you love
  • Use an essential oil diffuser

Looking to buy, sell or invest in real estate? Let Great Lakes Home Team help you. Contact us at 440 299-5137 or greatlakeshometeam@gmail.com. Visit us at greatlakeshometeam.com to search for your dream home.