Safety Preparedness

911, what’s your emergency? A voice that is there to help! What a relief, but what if there wasn’t someone available to answer your call? What if there was a larger disaster in your area that would not allow emergency services to assist you and your family in a time of need. What would you do? Where would you go? Where would you get food and water? How would you be able to help yourself and your family in a disaster? Over the last several months we’ve witnessed various disasters across our country. Each has varied in level of devastation. Disasters are commonly unexpected with little or no warning and may cause Emergency Services to be overwhelmed.

Maybe you are in a new neighborhood; maybe you haven’t met your neighbors; maybe you aren’t even sure where the local Fire or Police station is located?  These are simple tasks that will benefit you when a disaster strikes.  Often times, our neighbors are nurses, doctors or have experience in the emergency services field. As a Realtor, I feel it’s important to talk with my clients to remind them how important it is to take the time to walk your neighborhood and introduce yourself to your neighbors.  Take a drive or Google the location of your nearest Fire and Police station. It only takes a few minutes and by knowing where these services are located, in the event of an emergency, this knowledge could be lifesaving.

We often sit through the evening news and recognize that a disaster can happen in any area. We tend to have busy schedules and sometimes safety becomes an afterthought. October is Fire Safety Month and a great time to remind everyone of some of the things you can do to prepare for emergencies in and around your home. First thing, replace the battery in your smoke alarms. Not only will you not wake up to the horrible chirping at 3:00am when the battery is about to die, but in the event of a fire, this one task may save your family. Second, take time to sit down with your family and create a plan. Establish a safe place outside your home that your family can meet a school, church or neighbors home. It’s important to establish a location where everyone can check in. Third, decide on a friend or family member that everyone can call that is out of the area. This is another great way for you to all check in to make sure your family is safe.  Last, don’t forget to prepare a “go” bag for each member of the family and don’t forget one for your family pet! Be sure to include at least three days’ worth of water and food. These precautions may help you become self-sustainable in the event of a disaster.

Another simple reminder for residents here in the Northwest would be to include walking the perimeter of your home to look for trees that may be nearby. Remove any branches that may be hanging over head or near your house or outbuildings. Fall tends to bring windstorms and this easy way to protect your new home and property may also save you time and money.

These tasks may seem overwhelming, but it is easy to break them down into a manageable to do list. Creating a Ten Tasks in Ten Days List will help. Quickly jot down ten tasks that relate to safety in your home or on your property and commit to doing one a day for ten days. Your new neighbor may just be the perfect accountability partner to help you complete the list.

If you have questions about disaster preparedness or are in need of ideas to create your plan or a go bag, please visit the websites below for more information.

Want to learn how to sign up for Pierce County Alert, Make a plan, build a Go Kit or help others? Visit: http://www.co.pierce.wa.us/945/Emergency-Preparedness

The Great Shakeout is coming October 19, 2017 at 10:19am. Learn more about preparing for earthquakes and the proper way to drop, cover and hold. https://www.shakeout.org/washington

Looking for ways to meet and assist your neighbors? Visit: http://www.co.pierce.wa.us/2297/Pierce-County-Neighborhood-Emergency-Tea

Today is a great day to make one change to help better prepare your family and your home for an emergency.

jennifer-davidsonJennifer Davidson, REALTOR®
253.315.9315
jenniferdavidson@cbbain.com

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Preparing Your Home For Fall

Summer has come to a close and the crisp, fall air is here in full swing. Even though you may be ready for pumpkins, sweater weather, and raindrops – your home may not be. Fall and winter often bring harsher weather, and it’s best to take care of things prior to them becoming emergencies. Not to mention, many of these tips will help in keeping heating costs down. Following are some tips and tricks to ready your home for the colder, wetter months ahead.

  • Clean out your gutters.

All kinds of gunk and debris get stuck in your gutters throughout the year. Now is a great time to get out your ladder and clean them out, before the rain sets in for good. Good drainage through properly functioning gutters and downspouts will lengthen the life of your roof and direct water away from the foundation of your home.

  • Take care of drafty windows and doors.

It’s easy to forget about that drafty spot during the summer when air circulation is king. Check out the spaces around your doors and windows to find any drafts and seal them up before the cold sets in. Oftentimes you can apply an adhesive foam around the edges of doors and windows to take care of those pesky drafts. Taking care of this now will keep you cozier, not to mention your heating bill will be a little easier on the pocketbook.

  • Speaking of heating – have your chimney serviced!

If you have a wood burning fireplace it is important to make sure to have a professional chimney sweep come service it. This service is essential as it maintains the health and safety of your fireplace to ensure you can enjoy it – safely – for years to come.

  • Replace air filters.

Now is a good time to swap out those air filters in your heating system. A nice fresh filter encourages efficient heating as well as maintaining the air quality for you and your family. Even better, hire a professional to come out and check your entire system for maximum efficiency prior to your needing it on a daily basis.

  • Cover your spigots.

If you’re in a place where it freezes, it’s important to cover your outside spigots with Styrofoam covers. These are very inexpensive and will ensure that you don’t end up with a burst pipe. As the water freezes and expands as we reach progressively colder temperatures this is a risk not worth taking. Those freezing temps sneak up on us fast!

  • Inspect the exterior of the house.

Now is a great time to get out there and make sure your siding and roof are looking a-ok. It’s definitely easier to fix when the rain isn’t pouring down, and you’ll want to make sure that any roof issues are dealt with prior to discovering you’ve got a new indoor waterfall.

  • Trim your trees.

Go outside and take a look at your trees. Take careful note of any branches that look unhealthy as well as anything that looks odd about the root system as that can signal a shallow and weak tree. You can’t always prevent a branch breaking or tree falling and damaging your home, but a little preventative maintenance goes a long way in preventing this sort of problem. If you suspect that there are issues make sure you call a certified arborist. Arborists are best prepared to do maintenance on trees large and small to encourage proper and strong growth.

While this list definitely isn’t everything you need to tackle in the fall to get your home ready for the months ahead, it’s a great starting point. Follow these tips and you’ll be well on your way and worry-free as the holiday season starts creeping up on us. Happy fall, and happy home prepping!

Misty's Photo.JPGMisty Speers, REALTOR®
253-209-8544
mistyspeers@cbbain.com
mistyspeers.coldwellbankerbain.com

How To Sell Your House During The Fall

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Many believe that it is difficult to sell their home in the Fall because the market slows down.

Truth is, the Fall is the second-best time of year to sell a home. Summer vacation is over, the kids are back to school, the weather is cooling off and the holidays have not arrived yet! And most people are happy and relaxed after summer vacations are over.  This creates a fantastic time to sell a home.

Here are several tips on how to sell your home in Fall:

  1. Clean up the yard, rake the leaves and debris from your lawn. Trim back overgrown vegetation that is blocking windows, pathways, and sidewalks. Cut back the larger bushes and de-limb the trees to allow the sun to shine into the interior and showcase the exterior of your home. Clean out the flower beds and lay down new mulch to enhance curb appeal that draws buyers to it.
  2. Creating curb appeal, which can be as easy as some well-placed planters of Mums and marigolds with fall greenery to enhance them.
  3. Clean the windows. After the long hot and dusty summer months, your windows will need a good cleaning. Once the fall rains splash against the dusty windows you will have streaked ones. Buyer will notice if even on a subconscious level. Make them shine and sparkle. Don’t forget the window screens they will need a good rinsing too to remove the summer dust.
  4. Check and clean the HVAC. Even if you are not selling, it is time to clean the filters to ensure clean fresh air inside your home. Do have it checked before you turn on the heat. Best to have any HVAC issues fixed prior to your home going on the market, which will save you the stress of fixing it later.
  5. Clean out the Fireplace. Have a certified chimney sweep clean out both the fireplace and chimney, then check to ensure it is functioning properly. Light it when buyers are coming through. Create an ambiance for them to enjoy. Some home stagers will arrange knick-knacks in the fireplace in place of logs.
  6. Decorate and stage your home in autumn colors. It is easy to set the tone for making your living room appealing to many buyers. Clear the clutter and depersonalize each room. Bring the fall theme you have created in your living room to the rest of the house, for example, Fall candles arranged in a festive centerpiece on the dining room table or even a bowl of bright red apples on the kitchen island. You can inexpensively and quickly create a home that buyers will want to stay in.
  7. Turn on the lights throughout. As the days get shorter and darker in fall, you will want your home to appear bright and cheerful. Pull up the blinds, open the curtains on every window. Let the potential buyers see your home as full of light. And even a little music turned on softly will help make your potential buyer feel right at home.

Now you are ready to sell your home and move to your next before the Holiday rush begins.  Feel free to contact me for a checklist of how to make the process smoother!

Mary Klein Photo 2016Mary Klein, REALTOR®
253-590-7140
maryklein@cbbain.com
maryklein.coldwellbankerbain.com

10 Clever ideas for transforming a guest room into a walk-in closet

Who needs a guest room when you can have a chandelier and see EVERY SINGLE PIECE of clothing you own! Who cares if you ever wear it? You can hang it up!

You see, it really doesn’t matter how many clothes you have or how many of them you actually wear. The real question is, wouldn’t you love to be able to see them all hanging up, around a beautiful chandelier? My guess is yes. Yes, you would!

So, welcome to my newly remodeled little slice of dressing room heaven. I hope these clever ideas inspire you to convert your guest room. You and I both know you don’t want your in-laws to spend the night, anyway!

Clever Idea #1: Cover the walls with rods and shelves! You will be surprised how easy it is to fill the. You may even have room to hang your T-shirts!

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Clever Idea #2: Hang a chandelier! This is a MUST for the full dressing-room effect. I found mine at Hobby Lobby, half price! They also have them at Home Depot and Lowes.

Clever Idea #3: Fuzzy black hangers are EVERYTHING!
For sure buy these for your dressing room. It won’t look nearly as stylish with the plastic ones.  Plus, everything stays put. You won’t have your shirts slipping off and falling on the floor like they do when you shop. So annoying!

Clever Idea #4: Pick a fun theme! I went with a gold, tiffany blue, and maps for my theme. The idea was to have the maps inspire me to take more vacations.

Clever Idea #5: Get some gold spray paint and add some fun accessories! (See photo). I had to get the paper mache half-body mannequin because it fit the walk-in closet feel. The lamp and spice rack came from my favorite thrift stores. Perfect for the budget and super easy to spray paint.

Clever Idea #6: Use campaign glasses and candy dishes as little jewelry holders! The spice rack works great for perfume, lipsticks, and nail polish.

Clever Idea #7: EVERY dressing room needs a makeup table and matching chair! We had an old country style table in the storage shed and not enough space for it so we sawed it in half. Voila! The perfect sized makeup table screwed right to the wall! Clever, right? I found a chair at Value Village for $9.99 that I painted the same color.

Clever Idea #8: Baskets and large photo boxes work great for extra storage! I store my leggings and pajamas in large photo storage boxes that I stack, and socks in easy-to-access matching baskets that I found at HomeGoods. A longer basket fits my curling irons and hair dryer perfectly.

Clever Idea #9: MUSIC! Don’t forget music in your dressing room. An Echo is perfect because you can play your favorite songs while you get dressed every day. “Alexa, play me some Bruno Mars!”

But WAIT, one last plug for a chandelier so this counts at #10 because it’s important enough to repeat.  Mine provides no light at all, but it doesn’t matter because it will make you smile every time you walk into your new dressing room!

D-1 Photo + QuoteMichelle McLean, REALTOR®
253-691-3029
For more fun makeover and organization ideas, follow my blog at http://realfamilyblog.com/michelle.html.

Thinking Of Buying A Home When School Starts?

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Back to School is just around the corner! Parents are jumping for joy as they ready their kids to return to school. (Who can blame them?) As the hot summer eventually cools down and turns to fall, parents are not the only ones who should be excited.  If you are looking for a good deal on a home, now is the time to find your perfect place. With the kids focused on school, it might just be the time to get your focus on finding your home.
Get started now, you’ve procrastinated long enough.

Waiting until August or September can have its pay offs.  Traditionally there are fewer buyer’s shopping. Which means for you less competition for that perfect mid-century ranch, a little cottage, or Tudor that you have been dreaming about.  No matter how hot the market is you will see price reductions and homes staying on the market longer from September through December. And schools within each market tend to drive the prices on single family homes. The pressure on property prices in these areas eases as July turns to August. With fewer buyers competing, it makes getting your offer accepted just a little higher and save some cash too. This really applies to single family homes in the suburbs. Those downtown lofts and condos, they will stay at the more consistent higher prices. So, no real deals there.
Stay Flexible

 After school starts sellers tend to be more inclined to negotiate to help seal the deal.  More sellers may contribute to closing costs. Which is helpful to buyers who have a good steady income, good credit, but not a lot of cash on hand. Interest rates are staying low, so buyers are feeling motivated to buy because interest will not stay low forever. A home buyers warranty, carpet allowance, are a couple of items you can ask for if sellers won’t budge on price. Price is not always the main negotiating factor involved. Flexibility to shorten or extend closings in the fall buying season can make both buyers and sellers happy.
Take Time

Home buyers have increasingly had to deal with bidding wars, unbelievable cash offers, homes on the market for 1 or 2 days. The results are, buyers buying to buy because that was the only home that they sort of liked. Waiting until the kids are in school means taking your time, and finding the home that is right for you. You will be happy with no buyer’s remorse, financial regrets and things that they did not notice about the house in the rush to buy.
Be Ready with the Right Offer

In the fall research, the area and be ready to make the right offer on the right home.  Sellers tend to want to get their property sold prior to the holidays. This gives buyers the opportunity to research the comps and know what to offer at just below asking or at asking. Versus the Spring /Summer over asking price, shelling out extra cash to get the home they want.  Contrary to what many believe, August and September are good for buying homes and finding the right home at the right price for your budget. So, do your research, find your REALTOR® and get house hunting.
Mary Klein Photo 2016Mary Klein, REALTOR®
253-590-7140
maryklein@cbbain.com

 

Inspections And Appraisals in this Hot Real Estate Market

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Our local real estate market continues at the hot pace we’ve been on, although there are signs of inventory increasing with homes beginning to come onto the market at a faster pace than they have recently. That is a good sign in that we may see more balance in the market soon.

As I mentioned previously in this space, the intense competition for listings has impacted the role and effects of both home inspections and appraisals.

Typically, once agreement has been reached between buyer and seller, the buyer will have ten days (could be less, depending on the terms) to conduct a thorough home inspection and respond back to the seller.

These inspections are done for the benefit of the buyer, and generally consist of a licensed inspector taking a thorough look at the home, from the crawlspace to the roof, checking plumbing, electrical, heating and cooling systems, etc. Often, especially with older homes, a sewer scope inspection is also done.

Inspections in any market always constitute a second round of negotiations. Options for the buyer include simply approving the inspection and moving forward to closing, rejecting the inspection and terminating the transaction, or most commonly, asking the seller to make some repairs or concessions. The seller may agree to all repair requests, or agree to some but not all, or to none. Then the ball is back in the buyer’s court. Unless the seller agrees to all requests, the buyer can continue to negotiate, though they have limited time to do so, can agree with the seller, or reject the response and terminate the sale.

Recently we’ve seen some buyers making exorbitant requests to compensate for feeling that they may have overpaid for a home which had lots of competition. This has often caused sales to fail.

Once the parties have agreed on the inspection results, the next step is to order the appraisal.

Appraisals are done primarily for the benefit of the mortgage lender, though they do assure the buyer that the value of the home is appropriate to the sales price. The focus is value, though the appraiser will look for glaring signs of deferred maintenance, such as peeling paint or a bad roof, and may call for those sorts of items to be repaired. These repairs are not negotiable; if the loan is to be approved, the seller MUST do these repairs.

In the case of a home selling at an inflated price, the appraisal value may come in below the agreed upon sales price. In that event, the parties have options. The seller may agree to sell at the reduced price. The buyer may agree to bring additional money to closing, to keep the new loan amount at or below the appraised value. They may dispute the appraisal and ask for a review, or negotiate a compromise. Or the sale may simply fail.

Our current market requires up to date strategies for both buyers and sellers. Develop a plan with your REALTOR®. Be realistic, and you can do well, and have fun in the process!

Feel free to call me to discuss these or any real estate topics or properties.
ED Tropp's PhotoEd Tropp, REALTOR®, GRI
253-988-5763 (cell)
EdTropp@cbbain.com

Have You Heard of EnviroHouse?

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We’ve heard of the ENVIROHOUSE through the news media and mailings from utility districts but may not be aware of what an incredible resource it is for homeowners. Located in Tacoma, it is funded by Tacoma’s 5 Utilities and is open to all Pierce County Residents. EnviroHouse and surrounding landscape are environmentally and sustainably designed and explained by signage and handouts.

In the 1990’s, EnviroHouse began as a Pierce County environmental display building called the Green House (a 2-piece modular building) at the Puyallup Fair twice a year, you may have visited it there! In 2004, it was gutted and permanently installed at what is now called Tacoma’s Recovery and Transfer Station – we used to call these operations “Dumps” because they were.  EnviroHouse opened to the public in 2006 to provide information to get people to reduce waste.

On site is an abundance of information on building green and living sustainability including energy and water efficiency, sourcing (how far away is a product, how much energy & pollution & cost does it take to transport it to the job site?) Did you know counter tops made of paper are manufactured on Tacoma’s tide flats? Yes, since the 1940’s – there is info about it, other counter tops plus other building materials in EnviroHouse’s Resource Books. The resource notebooks contain detailed information to help you create a healthy home and landscape.

You can learn from the displays on the landscape: the Green roof, a rain garden, rain barrels, permeable pavers, low waters plants, a 5 section turf display, irrigation info and raised food gardens.

Janda Volkmer, Coordinator of EnviroHouse, oversees all and is a great resource too. She welcomes walk-in visitors and answers their questions sharing information about the eco-friendly installations in the house and landscape. She leads prearranged tours; the lecture is geared to the group’s interests. To schedule a tour, call the number listed below.

Free workshops on the site cover a variety of topics including yard waste and worm bin composting, solar power, water-smart landscaping, green roofs, backyard chickens. I attended a workshop on ductless heating and cooling systems and as a result had one installed in my home. Advance registration is required for the workshops. For a list of workshops, check the website.

How to do it videos on recycling ( Enviro Shorts) are available on the website. More are on YouTube, search for EnviroHouse How-To.

I hope you will visit the EnviroHouse after entering Tacoma Recovery and Transfer Station.  Look for EnviroHouse sign on your left and turn into the parking area, otherwise, you will be at the Hazardous Waste Station, as I was, but you can loop back.

Tacoma’s Recovery and Transfer Station
3510 S Mullen, Tacoma 98409
Open W-F 10am-5pm; S Su 11am-5pm
email: EHouse@cityoftacoma.org
website:
www.cityoftacoma.org/Envirohouse
www.cityoftacoma.org/workshops
www.cityoftacoma.org/enviroshorts

Carol Goforth, REALTOR®Capture
253-376-3628 (mobile)
carolgoforth@cbbain.com
carolgoforth.coldwellbankerbain.com