Author: samuelaman23

Preventing Burglary With Your Landscape

You may be unaware, but most burglaries actually happen during the day and are typically what we call “Crimes of opportunity”. This type of burglary has little or no pre planning and often happens when a perpetrator realizes that they have a window of opportunity to commit a crime and seizes it without much thought. So what are the best ways to prevent burglary in your home? How do you avoid giving someone the window to commit a crime of opportunity? Today, we’re going to go over some basic tips that will help you prevent burglary in your home.

 

 

prevent crime with these tips from OSA

 

 

Defining Your Property

It’s always a good idea to clearly define where your yard begins and where the public area around your yard starts. You don’t necessarily have to build high, solid walls around your yard as long as you’re defining it in some other way. In fact, keeping your property looking clean and well kept is one of the best deterrents when it comes to burglary. You can define the layout of your yard with plants, half fencing, decorative lights, bushes, flowers, etc, and this will send a better message than thick and high walls would ever send to passerby and anyone trying to take advantage of your home.

Personalize Your Property

Putting some time into landscaping even smaller properties can be the best deterrent when it comes to burglary and also adds a personal touch to your home and yard. Your yard should reflect what kind of person you are and what you enjoy. However, as you personalize your yard remember to also stay simple, clean and neat. Never design your landscaping in such a way that you can’t see through it. Shrubs and tree canopies should never under any circumstances be lower than four or five feet tall. Your neighbors should be able to also see into your yard and help keep watch, so your bushes and shrubs shouldn’t be higher than three or four feet tall. Personalization is important, but don’t allow it to become a stumbling block for security.

Light it Up!

Never allow the outside of your house to be completely veiled in darkness. It makes a burglar’s job significantly easier. It’s a good idea and a great deterrent to install motion sensor lights around doors and windows and even the perimeter of your property that sits close to your house. Aim for a low level of light that blankets your house at night and you’ll have a much easier time keeping crime out.

Be Community Minded

Spending time getting to know your neighbors, out walking and gardening, assisting with the local neighborhood watch and helping to maintain a healthy relationship within your community not only brings vibrancy, but also helps foster good relationships that will deter crime and provide security to not only yourself and your home, but also the other members of the community.

 

RELATED POST: Homeowner Security Tips

 

Keeping crime out of your home, yard and neighborhood become significantly easier when there is a group to back you up and help you out. Remember to keep your yard clean, well-lit and use your landscape as a first defense when it comes to preventing burglary. Don’t be caught by a crime of opportunity. Lock your doors and windows when you leave the house. Consider getting a perimeter fence and befriend neighbors that can help you keep an eye out. With good perimeter security and the right planning, you can be part of the movement to stop all crime in its tracks.

 

Why You Should Get a Roof Inspection for Storm Damage

And no, we’re not talking about a friend who glances over your roof and gives you a thumbs up when there’s legitimate underlying issues that are going to cost you a fortune in less time than you think it would be for something you won’t notice immediately. Always, Always, ALWAYS hire a certified roofing contractor to take care of your roofing needs. Including inspections.

roof damage is hard to spot without training
It’s tough to spot without the right training!

 

It’s much easier to get an inspection than pay a hefty bill for a new roof, right? Or worse…a house remodel because the roof was leaking and destroyed the walls and the foundation. Don’t let your roof catch you off guard. Catch problems early; especially after a storm, and you won’t have to worry about being caught off-guard with terrible problems. So what are the benefits to getting your roof inspected after a major weather event? And why should you? Ready to find out? Let’s go!

 

Not All Damage Can Be Seen From the Ground

 

Certainly not the pricey kind of damage that might mean a brand new roof and foundational problems. Getting a roof inspection by a certified roofing contractor will give someone the opportunity to check your roof for issues. Safely. With the right equipment and the right skillset.

 

Have to Have an Inspection to File That Insurance Claim

 

If you have homeowners insurance that covers hail or any type of storm damage to your house and want to file an insurance claim for the damage, you can’t without a certified roofing contractor taking a look at your rooftop. Insurance companies will want to know the extent of the problem as well as how much it will cost before they cut you a check. Just make sure you hire a company you can count on and trust like 5 Star Roofing & Restoration. They’re licensed and insured and they have been operating in the same area for over 40 years. Look for social proof like google reviews and never trust a door knocker from out of state. Only work with reputable local companies. There’s just too much at stake financially to risk working with a company you can’t research online.

 

Save a Little Money In the Long Run

save money

 

Yes, you’d notice a fallen tree on your house, but would you notice any other small damages that come up on your roof? Probably not. What’s the good news? There’s someone that is trained to notice such things. A certified roofing contractor! And when given the opportunity to help by your scheduling regular check-ups, they can save you an immense amount of money in the long run by catching small issues, like leaks and broken shingles before they become big issues!

 

By getting a certified roofing contractor to take a look at your roof after major weather events, you can save yourself a lot of heartache…and money!

All Homebuyers: Get an Inspection

home inspectors help you protect your investment

 

That’s right. If you’re going to put money into something, it’s only fair you get it for what it’s really worth. And that’s why you should hire a home inspector. A home inspector, in all cases, is a home buyer’s best friend. Local inspectors like the pros at Timberline Inspections are there to help you make an informed buying decision.

 

“What Do They Do?”

 

A home inspector will carefully comb a property’s visible and accessible areas to identify any health and safety problems, positive or negative conditions of the property and any conditions that need further specialized attention.

 

An inspection will include structural elements like the roof, the foundation, walls, windows, any doors, insulation, attic, and crawl space. It will also include the electrical, plumbing, heating and cooling systems as part of the inspection. In addition, any report of termites will be noted.

 

What do Home Inspectors Typically FIND?



Once the inspection is complete, a home inspector will provide a written and very comprehensive report detailing any and all issues with the home. You’ll want to keep in mind that no home is perfect and it is certainly not uncommon for such a report to include 40 or more issues. Certain issues are so common they get reported constantly. There isn’t a “pass” or “fail” either. The home inspector report will give you the information you need to make the decision on whether or not to buy the home “as is” or negotiate with the seller about fixing issues or replacing things.


It’s also {very} important to keep in mind that a Home Inspector can’t see into the future and the report provided isn’t some sort of warranty (or a sports almanac from the future). It simply identifies issues found the day the inspection took place. Keep in mind that the inspection will not “predict” other issues that might arise months or years later.


Even If You Want to be, You’re Not a Home Inspector.

 

Sorry. You just aren’t. As much as we want to be able to comb a property ourselves and pinpoint all of the issues, we can’t. Home Inspectors are the trained professionals who have the expertise to pinpoint issues and red flags that we just…don’t…see. There are countless nightmare stories about people who tried to look a house over themselves and later unearthed problems that cost them much more than the house was worth. Remember: It’s always worth a little extra money in the beginning to save thousands later on!

 

inspecting a home

 

Hiring a pro home inspector like Eric Cruz may seem unnecessary, but we promise you that it is well worth the money! Especially when you’re saved from buying a house with a bad roof. Be smart! When you’re ready to buy, hire an inspector! You won’t regret it.

 

Moving Within Your Budget

Moving is a real hassle by any standards. It is one of those things that almost everyone dreads. It is also one of those things that must get done at some point in life. Not a lot of people are lucky enough to stay in one place all their life. Hiring a moving company is one of the decisions that have to be made during this time.

Some people don’t consider moving companies mostly because of the cost. For some people, it is hard to afford the cost of hiring professional movers. It is possible to find affordable moving companies. Most moving companies charge their rates depending on the services. For someone considering moving, there are a few ways to make sure that you can afford movers.

One way to do that is do the packing yourself. Full service moving companies offer packing and boxing services. This may add to the cost of the moving process. If you can not afford the extra service, doing it yourself is always an option. When you pack your stuff you will know how to best do it. All you need are the appropriate packing materials.

Packing yourself however may have its disadvantages. In case anything got damaged during the move because it was not packed properly, the moving company would not be liable for it. This is however the risk that comes with getting moving services that fit your budget.

It is always important to check on the quotes that a specific moving company offers you. When you know what it will cost you. You can budget for it better. The amount of things you need to move will also determine the cost. You can make sure that you get rid of all the unnecessary stuff when packing.

Is the clunker in your driveway driving potential home buyers away?

WARNING!

 

This post is a bit of a rant about a house I listed several years ago when I was still an active agent.

 

Notice I’m very specific here…

 

We’re not talking about pink flamingoes, a lawn jockey, or flowers growing out of an old toilet.

 

No, but the subject of this article has already been sung about in a country song or two.

 

And while the subject of my mild rage isn’t a rusty old Ford Fairlane, the homeowner’s yard looked just as bad as the place described in that 90’s country tune.

 

Damn it, Jim! I’m a Realtor, not Grant Cardone!!!

 

I can’t sell a house that’s not fit to show. And in this case, we’re not talking about a single car. No, we’re talking six unique rust-buckets, all within different stages of decomposition.

That’s in addition to the three beaters crowding the small driveway on this tiny 3BR home. You know the type that have a different beater for each day of the week? Instead of getting one quality car from a local dealer, they try to maintain a fleet of clunkers. Yup, that was my client!

I’m not a sales assassin.

Just your ordinary (former) real estate agent.

I did the best I could given a bad situation, but it took forever to sell that one. And we probably could have gotten the seller a higher price had he taken my advice.

Listen to your Agent!

 

That’s the simple moral of the story here. Trust your agent. Listen to your agent. If they tell you something makes your house look less desirable, don’t take offense. Just resolve the issue and know that they have your best interests at heart.

 

Okay, rant over! Back to living the dream.

 

Should We Pressure Wash Our Driveway Before Staging Our Home to Sell?

Should We Pressure Wash Our Driveway Before Staging Our Home to Sell?

 

A home buyer’s first impression on your home should be a pretty good one. Most buyers would give your home less than a minute to decide whether they should enter and give it a more critical glance. So it’s very important to ensure that your house’s exterior is enticing enough for them to want to view the inside.

 

This raises a good question for many homeowners. Should you pressure wash your driveway before staging your home to sell? Yes! You definitely should. It’s the part of your property that a potential buyer would immediately notice before anything else. As soon as they step outside their vehicle and onto that pavement, a first impression is made.

 

It is a clean impression?

 

a clean driveway makes a great first impression to homebuyers

 

…or a DIRTY driveway?

 

dirty driveway before pressure washing it clean

 

The answer to that question is so important for your home marketing!

 

So, here are some compelling reasons we put together to ensure your driveway is appealing enough for home-buyers to say “yes!”.

First impression is critical.

A dirty driveway is a major turn off to a home buyer. It’s like your house saying, “Hi, there. I’m the garage and I’m quite dirty. Get in so you can see more places like me.” Well, that hurts. Especially if you did your best to clean up the entire house for the home’ buyer’s visit. So do clean it up and make your home impress buyers at first sight!

It helps your home sell faster and with less hassle.

If your house makes a good first impression with potential buyers, you have a higher chances of it being sold faster. If you were able to convince them that your house is still worth the cost because of its clean appearances and good features, chances are better that they would not take long to move forward on the home buying and negotiation process.

A clean driveway adds value to your home.

Another reason to clean up your driveway is that in can add value to your home. You’d like to get the best price for your pre-loved house right? So make sure potential buyers fall in love at first sight! A recently pressure washed home can increase it’s value from $5,000 to $15,000 depending on the size, According to the National Association of Realtors.

 

Aside from your driveway, you also have to ensure that the rest of your exterior is also well-staged. Consider washing the siding of your home on the same day as the driveway:

 

pressure washing your siding is also a great idea!

 

Below are some more basic but very important exterior staging tips:

 

  1.  Clean your windows and repair screens.
  2. Pressure wash or scrub your exterior walls.
  3. Clean up your front and backyard. Do this frequently while you’re on the market.
  4. Keep unused equipment in storage.
  5. Replace busted light bulbs. You don’t have to buy expensive ones. Just ensure they work.
  6. Clean up your house address numbers.
  7. Replace your front door if needed.
  8. Consider re-painting.

 

Remember that a great curb appeal and a good impression screams “Buy me!” to home buyers. Home sellers that do these simple but important staging tips sell more quickly and have fewer concessions over the asking price.

 

Can’t find time to do it yourself? There are local pressure washing companies just like Superior Cleaning of Birmingham, Alabama all over the US. Go to Google and find a reputable local contractor to clean your house and driveway. Always be sure to ask if they carry insurance and check reviews before hiring a company to pressure wash your driveway. Happy Selling!

 

Little Known Tricks to Preventing Theft in Your Home

There are tons of little known tricks that can help you prevent theft from your home. While some of them don’t seem like that big of a deal, sometimes the most rarely thought of tricks are the ones that work the best. Did you know that if more people just took some of the precautions we’re going to explain below that the number of burglaries would drop significantly?

 

prevent crime with these tips from OSA

 

 

You’d be surprised at just how many crimes are handed to the thief because of an unnoticed opportunity that they took advantage of, such as unlocked doors and windows, conveniently placed bushes and shrubs that covered the area of penetration and more. Today, we’re going to explain some little known tricks sent to us by the security pros at Overwatch Security Advisors. Following their expert advice can help you prevent theft in your home and protect your assets.

 

 

Doors and Windows

 

 

One of the most common tactics a thief will use when penetrating a home is to kick the door in on itself. The best way to prevent this is to make sure your door is solid and install a deadbolt, as well as a chain and keyed lock. You can also install a peephole on your front door to see out so that you can identify visitors before accidentally opening the door to an intruder. If you have glass panels on or around your door, we recommend replacing them with either frosted glass or covers of some kind. If possible, install multiple locks that extend into your doorframe to reinforce the door itself.

 

burglers can break in through windows

 

Preventing Access Via the Outside

 

 

It’s important to remove the pull of easy access when it comes to your home. Install a perimeter fence or low wall to help deter a thief before they make it to the doors or windows. Trim back any of your trees, shrubs or hedges to make sure it’s easy for you to see out at potential thieves approaching your home. Don’t give a burglar the opportunity to do their work without being seen by either you or a neighbor. ALWAYS lock the doors and windows before you leave the house. We realize that it can be difficult to remember when you’re in a hurry, but this can be one of the most important steps you can take when it comes to the security of your home. Don’t leave the spare keys in obvious places and especially nowhere near the doors. Places like the front planters, under the doormat or over the doorpost is an absolute “no, no”. An intruder will check these places before trying anything else 99.9% of the time, so think like a thief and don’t leave the spare keys in any obvious places.

 

Going Out?

 

Unoccupied homes, whether for a short period of time or for days at a time are always more likely to be broken into. Take some precautions and NEVER leave tools outside that can be used to break into your home. Things like ladders, yard tools and even hammers and screwdrivers. If you’re not going to be home for even a few hours, open the curtains. It sounds kind of ridiculous, but closed curtains during the daytime make it obvious that the home isn’t occupied and it attracts burglars. Consider using automatic timer switches so that if a light goes out, it will turn back on.

 

Make Your House Look Occupied!

 

Don’t ever indicate that you aren’t home on your answering machine. Play it smart and just ask that the called leave a message. Use this same rule and don’t leave notes for any delivery or cleaning people on the front door. Send them a text or give them a call instead. When a service or delivery personnel shows up at your house, it can be smart to get their ID or confirm that you set something up and that the correct person has arrived. Don’t leave them on their own.

 

If you’re going out of town for an extended time, ask a neighbor to park in your driveway and open and close curtains for you. Ask if they’d be willing to collect newspaper and mail so that there isn’t a pile that makes it obvious no one is home. Another good trick is to disconnect your electric garage door opener if you’re going to be traveling. It’s not much, but it’s still a deterrent and it will make the job of a thief that much more difficult.

 

home security - Be careful posting to social media!

 

Don’t ever post on social media publicly that you are out of town. You never know who is watching and waiting for an opportunity to catch a house while the owner is away, and a lot of times, thieves find their targets through social media.

 

Yes, preparing your home in such a way as to deter criminals can be difficult, but if protecting your home is a high priority, we guarantee that the effort is well worth it. Don’t let someone take advantage of your home. Defend and protect your future today.

 

Infrared Heaters: Efficient or Wasteful?

Homeowners are always looking for ways to slow down the spin of the power meter and save a little cash. So today we’re taking a look at infrared space heaters. Are they efficient? How do they stack up against oil-filled radiator type space heaters? Let’s find out!

 

Infrared Space Heater

 

How do Infrared Space Heaters Work?

 

We all know that Infrared is an invisible spectrum of light. What you probably didn’t know is that infrared waves can get absorbed into your skin and heat your body from the inside out…rapidly! Before you start donning your tin foil hat and Googling articles on cancer though, you need to remember that the sun emits infrared and it’s a very natural heat source. Ever enjoy the warm, radiating waves of heat off a bonfire on a cool winter night? That’s infrared energy!

 

Need more technical details? Check out this primer on infrared heat by the Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute:

 

http://www.ahrinet.org/App_Content/ahri/files/Product%20Section/INFRARED%20BROsinglePGS.pdf

 

Infrared space heaters work by producing a radiating heat that can warm you up fast, and that’s part of the reason they are so popular. If you ever shop at Costco, you’ve probably walked by one of their infrared heaters on display. They absolutely blast you with heat that you can feel immediately. It feels great, but are they efficient?

 

 

Are Infrared Space Heaters Energy Efficient?

 

Yes and no. Compared to older style space heaters, the answer is a resounding yes. Electric heat space heaters are notoriously inefficient compared to central units. That is, if you’re actually needing to heat the entire home. If you only use 2-3 rooms, it might make more sense to only heat those spaces and turn the furnace off.

 

And if you’re using electric heat, infrared is one of the most efficient options for heating a single room, and that’s where the real energy savings come into play. If you don’t need to heat an unoccupied spare bedroom, why bother? You can save some money in the winter by closing off parts of your home you rarely or never visit and only heat the rooms you do live in with infrared heaters. And if you’re trying to decide between infrared and some other electric heat source, don’t bother. The only portable electric heater that’s more efficient is the oil-filled radiator type. However, they’re more expensive and it takes hours to heat up a room. Infrared heat is near-instant and directional.

 

Energy Savings from Directional Heat

 

That directional heat and rapid warm-up put infrared above oil-filled heaters in my opinion. Most of us are gone during the daytime and only need to heat a room after work. In that case, you can come home, have a seat, and point a small infrared space heaterthe infrared heater directly at you. It will keep just you and the immediate area around you warm at first, but this beats having to run an oil-filled heater all day for no good reason in my opinion.

 

Health Benefits?

 

Believe it or not, there might be some health benefits to far infrared light. Popular infrared saunas are thought to improve circulation, reduce muscle pain, and increase flexibility. They use the same heating technology available in most ceramic infrared space heaters.

 

In addition to the direct benefits, these heaters don’t produce condensation and may help reduce mold or mildew problems in the home.

 

If you’re interested in learning more about these energy-saving heating options, we’ve got it covered for you! Check out this round-up of the ten best infrared heaters on the market from our friends at Just Best 10, and let us know your thoughts in the comments section below. Cheers!

Getting Pet Odors Out! So you can Sell Your Home

Dealing with pet odor

 

We all LOVE our furry friends! But if you’ve had a dog in your home for a while it can lead to odors that might turn off potential home buyers. Today we’re going to look at a few tips for pet owners looking to sell.

 

Can Pet Odor Really Kill a Home Sale?

 

Absolutely! Just ask an experienced Realtor. And what’s worse is that you’re probably “nose blind” to those odors since you live with your furry friend all the time. You’re desensitized to it, but even potential buyers with their own pets will probably notice the smell. If your agent brings up the smell, don’t get offended. They are just doing their job, and you want a good agent who won’t pull any punches. After all, you hired them to do everything in their power to sell your home for the best price possible.

 

 

Where do Pet Odors in the home come from?

 

If I wanted to be snarky, I’d just say “It’s the DOG dummy!” but the truth is your dog is just the source of an odor that’s permeated your entire house over the months or years. Here are just a few of the areas that probably harbor pet odors:

 

  • Carpets
  • Drapes or curtains
  • Drywall
  • Clothes
  • Linens

 

If you’re serious about selling your home, you need to address the pet odor both at the source and also throughout your house.

 

Start with the Odor Source

 

Take your dog to the groomer or give them a bath yourself. If it’s a long-hair breed, consider getting their groomer to give them a short, summertime haircut. If you’ve already bought or rented your next home, consider keeping your dog there or with a friend for a few days. Once you’ve dealt with the source, it’s time to move on to a thorough cleaning.

 

Cleaning up Dog Odor

 

It might make the most sense to start with the carpet, but I would recommend you start up high and work your way down. Remove all your curtains and throw them in the wash if the tag says it is safe to do so. The same goes for bedding, both yours and the dogs. Then you can move on to a thorough vacuum and shampoo of the carpets and rugs. If your pet isn’t 100% housetrained, a quality spot cleaning product might be in order. I would also go ahead and change out the air filter for your central AC unit at this time. It probably needs to be swapped out anyway since you’re showing your home to potential buyers.

 

 

Removing Dog Urine From Carpet

 

Extreme Dog Odor Cleanup

 

Okay, so that didn’t work and your agent still smells Fido when she walks in the door. What now? Remember our list of possible places the odor might be hanging out? If you followed my steps in the past paragraph and the odor is still present, you’ll have to focus on those other areas. A fresh coat of paint will help attract a qualified buyer while also preventing the drywall from smelling like a wet poodle. Or if you think the carpet shampoo didn’t do the trick, it might be necessary to call in a flooring pro and replace the carpet.

 

I hope you found these tips helpful, and best wishes on the sale of your home!

Qualities That Define the Best Moving Companies

Moving has never been so easy; at least the majority agree to this. And while this is the case, there are some service providers who make the whole a bit manageable. These are the moving and storage companies, who do anything and everything to ensure that people from all settings can easily relocate. In actual sense, without the existence of these service providers, moving can be very strenuous.

Whereas you can appreciate that moving companies are good and worthwhile hiring, there are some of them that have shown an outstanding performance. People actually select the same service providers times and again due to the quality of services given. These companies have the following qualities:

  • Reliability

The best moving companies can be relied upon to provide moving services efficiently. They invest in the best facilities and manpower to ensure that everything runs smoothly during the removals.

  • Professionalism

When you need to relocate, you will need to ensure that everything is handled in a professional way- from loading, transport to offloading services. Communication should also be perfect so that you are able to know the actual timing of the removals, and when the whole process will be completed. The employees are also supposed to be qualified and experience to handle the moving task at hand with excellence. This sort of professionalism is what good movers offer you.

  • Insurance cover

Anything can happen during the removals, causing damages to your luggage. Accidents, theft, misplacement of items can always lead to serious losses of property during a relocation process. It is for this reason that good movers will have pre-arranged insurance cover against such losses.

  • Affordability

The best movers do not exploit the clients. Rather, they provide services at a reasonable rate. More so, they may provide a number of moving options in which case the clients can decide on the most affordable option for them.

The best movers are well known, and as such easy to locate. Therefore, you will not take long before you hear someone mention a company with the qualities above. A little research through the search engines will also help to find the best moving companies in a given location.