Introducing Your Dog To A New Home

Photo of a dog to illustrate points about introducing your dog to a new home.

Introducing your dog to a new home can be done smoothly when a few things are kept in mind:

  • Pack over time: Staying organized and being able to pack everything up gradually over time will allow your dog to deal with the transition better.
  • Find a new vet and get new collar tags before the move: Ask your current vet for recommendations or do your homework and research the best vet in your new area. If your new vet is not open 24 hours, find an emergency vet with a 24 hour service as well. Get new collar tags with your new address before you move; many dogs get scared and can run away during a move.
  • Inspect the house for pet hazards: Look for possible poisons that can be reached such as household cleaners, medications, paint, houseplants, etc. Look for choking hazards such as small toys that may have been left behind. Search around for appliances and heat sources that have electrical cords. Escape routes should be secured; gates and fences should always be closed and it’s a good idea to check for loose or missing window screens as well.
  • Be cautious outside: If your new home is in a new and unfamiliar climate, be aware of new hazards such as extremely cold weather, fire ants in the south, and scorpions in the southwest. If your dog is sensitive to sunlight, be sure to provide plenty of shade for them in their new yard.
  • Have fun: Consider giving your dog a new toy for the new home and let them explore to their heart’s content.
  • Be consistent: Use your dogs same leash, food and water dish, and dog bed to make the transition smoother. If your dog is experiencing anxiety in the new digs, consider using a crate until they are more comfortable.
  • Meet the neighbors: Bring your dog with you when you meet nearby neighbors.
  • Show some love: Be sure to show your pooch lot’s of love and attention during this stressful time.
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Kitchen Design Mistakes

There are several potential kitchen design mistakes that may be made but these tips will hopefully shed some light on the common mistakes and how to avoid them.

  • Forgetting a space for the trash: Sometimes a kitchen can be beautifully done except for the ugly trash can. Instead of using the traditional plastic can, opt instead for built in pull-out drawers that can house the cans.
  • Not installing enough electrical outlets: Get creative and install several outlets throughout the kitchen. Sneaky spaces include the sides of an island and inside a drawer.
  • Too much stainless steel creating a sterile look: Even though stainless steel appliances are very popular right now, they can create a sterile look instead of a warm look. To avoid making this mistake, think about using white, black, or even colored appliances instead.
  • A cluttered look due to too many open shelves: Instead of having many open shelves, install a few to display your prettiest dinnerware and use regular hidden shelving for the rest.
  • Not having enough lighting variation: Ideally the kitchen should have three different types of lighting. Spot lighting for tasks, overhead lighting to illuminate the room and accent lighting to showcase specific design elements. It’s important to vary the type of lighting in the space as well as the wattage used.

Photo of a beautiful and modern kitchen to illustrate points about kitchen design mistakes and how to avoid them.

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Questions For A Home Inspector

Photo of a man inspecting the exterior of a home to illustrate points about questions for home inspectors.

There are a few questions for a home inspector to ask before making the hire to ensure you are choosing a qualified inspector. Inspecting a home prior to purchasing is very important to hiring the right inspector is vital.

  • Are you insured and bonded?
  • Can I watch you do the inspection? Some homeowners do not want to follow the inspector around while others desire a more hands on experience. If you prefer to be with the inspector, be sure to ask if that’s alright. Hiring an inspector that communicates well is very important. Understanding the results of an inspection allows a homeowner to make a truly informed decision before purchasing a home.
  • Do you have any references I can contact?
  • What is included in the inspection? Ideally, an inspection should be very detailed and thorough. Some inspectors also test appliances as well so that should be asked about. If the property includes outbuildings such as barns, be sure to ask about having those inspected as well.
  • How much does the inspection cost? It may not always be wise to go with the cheapest inspector. It may be worth it to hire a true professional so that costly surprises in the home don’t come up later.
  • Can I have a sample report? Viewing a sample report can give you a great idea of how detailed the inspections are and how much time the inspector will take to do the inspection.
  • Do you specialize in any specific areas? Using an inspector that has expertise is a specified area may be a good idea if the property in question is a historic home, farm house, etc.
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Financially Smart Home Improvements


Photo of crown molding in a hallway to illustrate different home improvement projects.
  • Add molding: Crown molding and chair rails can make a room look more polished and can give a space a more expensive look. There are hundreds of options for molding and it can be made to look simple or more detailed. There are even options for using flexible materials such as foam that would make installation much easier. The project is relatively inexpensive as well, costing about $1.50 per square foot if done yourself vs. $8 per square foot if done professionally.
  • Put in quality ceiling fans: Ceiling fans are now available in a wide variety of colors and styles so they can look good as well as help homeowners save money on their cooling bills.
  • Add trees: Trees not only look good and can add to the curb appeal of a home, but they also save money on energy costs, lower stress levels, protect a home from the elements, and can prevent erosion from roof runoff.
  • Install a patio: Patios are an effective way to add onto your home’s square footage without actually doing major construction to the home itself. Homeowners can expect to get back 30%-60% of their investment on a patio. Keep the patio simple and functional; don’t add on many high end upgrades such as an outdoor kitchen if yours would be the only one in the neighborhood.
  • Do energy-efficient upgrades: The value of energy-efficient homes continues to rise, so take advantage of completing any energy saving upgrades that are available. One way to save energy in your home is to convert your wood burning fireplace to a gas one. Gas fireplaces have been reported to have energy-efficient ratings as high as 77% while their wood burning counterparts have about a 15% rating. Not only do gas fireplaces save energy, they are also attractive to buyers; about 39% of homebuyers report that a gas fireplace is desirable or necessary in a future home.
  • Get creative with storage: Storage is always a good thing so finding ways to add storage in your home is a great feature. Think creatively when adding storage; add storage space in between wall studs by opening up drywall, hang platforms from the ceiling in the garage that hold storage, etc.
  • Exterior lighting: Lighting the outside of your home spotlights it, shows off it’s features, and can keep burglars away. Not only is exterior lighting attractive to buyers (90% say it’s a desired feature) but you can expect to recoup 50% of your investment in hard wired light fixtures.
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Credit Score Upkeep

Image of a credit score rating scale to illustrate credit score upkeep.

Credit score upkeep is vital to maintaining a positive financial outlook. There are a few things that can be done to make it easier to keep on top of your credit. Putting a spending alert on your credit cards can let you know when you are approaching using 30% of your available credit for that card. Using more than 30% of your available credit can have a negative impact on your credit score so staying below the 30% mark is important.  Taking advantage of free annual credit reports is also a good idea; keeping track of what your actual score is can help you to make changes to spending habits when necessary. If an error is found on your credit report, such as a missed payment that is incorrect, follow up with the credit reporting agency and get the error taken care of. Even one reported missed payment can make a huge dent in your score. If you find there are several errors on your credit report, the process to dispute all of them may be overwhelming so getting help from a credit repair company may be helpful. These are just a few examples of things that can be done to keep your credit score healthy. If you are interested in refinancing or getting a new home loan, keeping on top of your credit score is very important so you can take advantage of the best interest rates offered.

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Preparing To Move


Photo of a mother and baby near moving boxes to discuss preparing to move.

Moving to a new home can be a very exciting time, although dealing with packing up your belongings, moving all the boxes, and unpacking everything can be daunting. Here are 8 things you can do to make your move go smoother!

1. De-clutter your house: When going through your belongings, ask yourself questions such as Do I need it?, Do I love it?, Will I use it? , etc. If you cannot honestly answer yes to two of these questions, consider getting rid of it before your big move. Hold a garage sale, sell items online, etc. Having less to move will reduce your moving costs and make your life easier.
2. Storage Unit: If you are selling your home, you may want to consider putting some of your belongings in a storage unit and only keeping items in your current home that may assist with staging.
3. Cut down on your food items: Before you move, start using up your canned goods, frozen food, and other foods that will not travel well. Make an effort to only buy food that will get consumed before the move.
4. Pack items room by room: Pack your boxes according to what room they belong in and label them accordingly. For important necessity items, place those in boxes market open first. These boxes may contain items such as some clothing, toiletries, etc.
5. Put aside your most important items: Things such as medication, passports, checkbooks, etc. should be put aside. Consider not putting them into boxes that will be on a moving truck, just to ensure their safe keeping.
6. Arrange care for your children and pets on moving day: Having your kids and pets away from the home on moving day will ensure their safety and also make moving easier.
7. Don’t forget about your utilities: Schedule the disconnection and transfer of your utilities and cable for the day after you move out of your home to make sure that you will have access to them.
8. Pay attention to your home’s condition: If you are selling your home, be sure to document the condition of it, noting an damage that was done before the moving crew shows up.

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Holiday Home Repairs

Photo of a living room decorated for Christmas to illustrate points about holiday home repairs.

Holiday home repairs are very important to think about as you get your home ready for holiday gatherings. Here are just a few simple repairs that should be made before hosting your holiday event:

  • Spruce up the bathroom: Use hydrogen peroxide to clean dirty grout. Just spray on the hydrogen peroxide, let it work for 10 minutes and then wipe the grout clean.  Fresh flowers, holiday decor, and/or new pictures on the wall will go a long way in making your bathroom guest-ready.
  • Clean the floors/carpets: Even though giving your whole home a thorough cleaning may be ideal, there may not be enough time for that before the big party. Having clean floors instantly makes your home look better and will go a long way in making your home ready for the party.
  • Illuminate the entrance: Make sure that the front of your home, especially the front porch and walkway, is well lit. Replace any bulbs that may be out or install new lighting, such as solar lights, along the front walkway.
  • Check kitchen appliances: Check over the appliances to make sure they are working well. Clean the oven if it needs it and be sure that the dishwasher is working properly.  It’s also a good idea to clean out the refrigerator since guests may be using it during the party.
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5 Reasons To Replace Your Home’s Insulation

Photo of a man replacing home insulation.


  1. High utility bills:  A rise in your utility bill can mean that the insulation in your home has worn down and is doing a poor job of keeping your home warm or cool, depending on the season.  Replacing the insulation can regulate the temperature in your home and save you money on your utility bill.
  2. Varying room temperatures: If rooms in your home differ significantly in temperature, such as an extremely cold living room and very warm bedroom, chances are there are insulation problems and it should be replaced.
  3. Aging insulation: Insulation that was installed in older homes is usually of lower quality than what is available today. A good test to use to determine the quality of the insulation is to put on a glove and feel the insulation in the attic; if it crumbles when touched it’s time to replace. Also, there are green options for insulation for older homes as well.
  4. Pests: Pests usually like to make their homes in the insulation present in basements and attics. If you have ever had a problem with pests, it’s best to replace the insulation to avoid future issues.
  5. Water damage: Heavy rains and flooding can cause water to soak through the roof or walls and that water gets into the insulation and soaks in. If the insulation is not dried out completely, mold will grow and cause a large problem. If your home has been through flooding or had any issues with heavy rain, there is a good chance that the insulation does need to be replaced.
*The national average for replacing insulation is between $1,400 and $1,800. It’s best to replace the insulation before the extreme heat of summer or cold of winter.
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Single Homebuyers-5 Tips For Home Shopping

Photo of a ranch home to illustrate things that single homebuyers should keep in mind when purchasing a home.

Single homebuyers should keep these few things in mind when searching for a home:
1. Stay within your budget- Buy a home well within your means and ensure that you can afford it even during lapses in employment that you may experience.
2. Be aware of maintenance- If you are concerned about lawn care and other exterior maintenance, you may want to lean towards a home with a smaller yard or even in a newer community with homes requiring less up keep. If you are not interested in lawn manicuring or outdoor fixes you should look into a town home or a condominium.
3. Security- Being single means your home will be unoccupied more often than not and you want to ensure that you are in a safe neighborhood with a low crime rate so you can lock down your home before you leave and not have to worry about it.
4. Think about resale value- You may find yourself moving after a few years due to a job relocation or life change so when you are shopping for a home-keep the resale value in mind so that if you ever find yourself wanting to sell, you can do so easily.
5. Buy for the future- Although you are single now and may not need much room, plan for the future when you may add a spouse and children to your home. If you can afford it, it’s a good idea to buy a home with an extra bedroom or two to spare.
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