Todd Finn - RE/MAX Partners



Posted by Todd Finn on 5/7/2017

Did you know there are home upgrades that may wind up costing you more than they are worth? That's right, and these are home improvement projects you'll want to avoid at all costs. Some of the most common high-cost, low-return home improvement projects for home sellers include: 1. Installing an in-ground swimming pool. When it comes to installing swimming pools, the fantasy usually is better than the reality. Ideally, you should be able to install an in-ground swimming pool in your backyard quickly and enjoy it for an extended period of time. But when it comes time to complete the project, you may end up committing thousands of dollars and dozens of man-hours to a project that may add minimal value to your home. Consider the costs and timeline associated with an in-ground swimming pool installation before you commit to this project. By doing so, you can determine how much this project will impact your home's value both now and in the future and decide whether the return on investment (ROI) meets your needs. 2. Adding a backup power generator. Homeowners often try to err on the side of caution, and for good reason. However, a backup generator may prove to be costly, especially when there are viable, cost-effective alternatives at your disposal. A power outage may seem like the end of the world when it happens, but in most cases, it is only temporary. And those who have flashlights, lanterns and other emergency supplies will be better equipped to stay safe during a power outage. Remember, a backup generator may seem like a great idea at first, but you should consider its short- and long-term value. Those who explore the alternatives that are available, meanwhile, may find it is more cost-effective to invest in other home improvement projects. 3. Installing new windows. The latest windows are incredibly energy-efficient, making them exceedingly valuable for homeowners who want to cut their energy bills for years to come. Comparatively, home sellers may fail to reap the benefits of these windows, especially if they hope to find a buyer for their residence in the immediate future. New windows may cost thousands of dollars to install, so you'll want to look at the ROI of new windows before you find a contractor to complete the project. And if you discover the upfront costs outweigh the long-term savings of a home you'll soon be selling, it may be better to avoid installing new windows for the time being. As a home seller, you'll want to do everything you can to highlight the true value of your home, and choosing a reliable real estate agent can help you do just that. A qualified real estate agent possesses the experience and understanding of the real estate market. As such, this professional can help you decide which home improvement projects are priorities and which tasks can be put on the backburner. Find a top-rated real estate professional to help you sell your home, and you can benefit from the support of a real estate expert who can guide you along the home selling process.





Posted by Todd Finn on 4/30/2017

If you've read the news in the last few years you've likely heard about the alarming decline of the bee population. In our daily lives, most of us think of bees only when they're buzzing uncomfortably close to our picnic table. What we don't often realize is the vital role that bees play in pollenating our food supply.

Large farms throughout the country (and throughout the world) hire beekeepers to bring in their colonies for pollination. Without those bees there would be a drastic drop in food production. While drops in bee populations are naturally occurring and fluctuate from year to year, recent years have seen some of the worst declines to date.

Starting to feel bad about swatting at the bees in your backyard?

First you should understand that these declines aren't your fault because you've killed a few bees in your life. Among the stresses that the bee population faces are viruses, mites, climate change, and habitat reduction. It would take a massive culture shift to address all of those issues. But, there are a few things you can do right in your backyard that will lend a small hand in helping out your local bee population.

Know your bees (and what's not a bee)

Many people treat bees, wasps and hornets as interchangeable. Bees are fuzzy pollinators that can sting only once. Common bees include honey bees, bumble bees, and carpenter bees.

Wasps are not fuzzy, and therefore not as effective as pollinators. They prey on insects and can be more aggressive than bees. The only wasps that sting are females, but they can sting multiple times.

Hornets are a sub-species of wasp native to North America. They too can sting multiple times and are known for being the most aggressive of the three. Again, they are not the most effective pollinators.

Bees, wasps, and your backyard

If you've noticed an uptick in the number of bees or wasps on you property it's not necessarily a bad thing. If their numbers are low and you're not concerned about anyone's safety you may decide to leave them be. The bees and wasps will help you by pollinating your flowers, eating surplus insects, and leaving you well alone.

Some ways you can keep your backyard bees healthy include not using pesticides on your lawn or garden. You could also plant more flowers and let your wildflowers grow freely to provide an extra nectar source for the local bees.

Too much of a good thing

If the bees in your yard have grown high in number, are becoming aggressive, or you are worried for the safety of your family (bee sting allergies can be life-threatening) then it might be time to take action.

To avoid becoming part of the problem of declining populations, call in a professional. Some pest control companies still use killing the bees as a solution. But there are companies that are more proactive and attempt to coax away bees and relocate them. Seek out no-kill pest control companies for help.

Your local beekeeper is also an unexpendable resource when it comes to learning what to do about bees. Many beekeepers will even relocate the bees to commercial honey-making hives.

With a bit of research and careful behavior, cohabiting with bees can be beneficial for us and for the little bugs that make our honey.





Posted by Todd Finn on 4/23/2017

If you're in the process of preparing your home for sale, nothing can replace the marketing benefits of making it look its absolute best!

Successful home staging is all about effectively appealing to all the senses -- especially sight, smell, and sound. When prospective buyers are touring a home, they're essentially looking for two things: aspects that are appealing to them and areas of concern. To a large degree, their impressions will be based on emotional reactions and subconscious impressions. For example, if there's anything about your home that reminds them of fond childhood memories, then that will definitely work in your favor.

In some cases, the right kind of music playing in the background can have a positive effect on first impressions. Fragrances, such as cinnamon, lavender, citrus, baking bread, or coffee brewing can also help create an appealing ambiance. On the other hand, the presence of pet odors, stains, fur, or cat litter boxes can send a very negative message to prospective home buyers -- especially if they don't own pets or have allergies. By the way, one other item that can be an enormous turn off to people is seeing mouse traps anywhere in the house. (A worst case scenario, of course, is a visible mouse trap that has recently been sprung! That could easily be a deal breaker!)

Home Staging 101

It can be challenging to consistently keep your house in tip top condition while you're still living in it, but, considering all that's at stake, it's worth the extra effort. In addition to impeccable cleanliness, other priorities for staging a home include fresh coats of paint where needed (preferably a neutral color), attractive landscaping, up-to-date appliances, and furniture that's in good condition. If you're at all unsure whether a room looks cluttered, dated, or poorly decorated, your real estate agent can provide helpful suggestions and feedback. An experienced real estate agent can spot potential problem areas in seconds and offer valuable advice about improving the marketability of your home. After having observed hundreds of buyer reactions to everything from cluttered rooms and mismatched furniture to peeling wall paint and water stains on ceilings, they can advise you on what needs to be fixed, spruced up, replaced, or rearranged.

Curb appeal -- or lack, thereof -- is literally the first impression your home will make on prospective buyers. If you can give your lawn a manicured look, eliminate signs of peeling paint, repair cracks in walkways and driveways, and remove grime from windows, concrete surfaces, and siding, then you'll stand a good chance of making a positive first impression on home buyers. Although home staging does not have to be an expensive undertaking, it can help you get top dollar for your property and minimize the time it remains on the market.





Posted by Todd Finn on 4/16/2017

After years in your current residence, you're ready for a change. As such, you've decided to add your home to the real estate market in the hopes of moving on to bigger and better things. Selling a home can be a daunting task, particularly for first-time sellers. Fortunately, we're here to help you maximize the value of your home and accelerate the home selling process. Here are three tips that will ensure you can become an informed first-time home seller: 1. Stay the Course. Although you may expect immediate interest in your residence, it may take some time for interest in your home to pick up. However, a patient, dedicated home seller knows how to stay the course and remain calm, cool and collected throughout the home selling process. For instance, a home seller may add his or her residence to the real estate market and continue to share the online home listing with friends, family members and colleagues. By doing so, this home seller may be able to stir up interest in his or her residence over an extended period of time. It also is important to remember that Rome wasn't built in a day, and much in the same vein, the first offer you receive on your residence might not be the best one. As a result, you should only accept an offer that makes you feel comfortable, i.e. an offer that meets your expectations. 2. Don't Sweat the Small Stuff. After you accept an offer from a homebuyer, the buyer likely will want to set up a home inspection. And if he or she encounters unforeseen problems with your home, problems could arise that may slow down the home selling process. If a homebuyer notices substantial issues with your home, he or she may rescind an offer or ask that these problems be resolved. Furthermore, home repairs can be costly, which means you may be forced to invest in expensive home improvements or risk missing out on an opportunity to sell your home. As a home seller, you may encounter obstacles as you attempt to sell your home. But when difficulties arise, try to focus on what's important – selling your home, maximizing its value and ensuring both you and the homebuyer are satisfied with the end results. A home seller who lets minor issues cause his or her blood pressure to rise may put a home sale in danger. Therefore, if you feel stressed, take a deep breath and try to work with a homebuyer to find a resolution that fits both sides. 3. Employ a Real Estate Agent. The home selling journey often is filled with twists and curves along the way. But with a real estate agent at your side, you'll be able to overcome any pitfalls immediately. Your real estate agent can promote and showcase your residence to prospective homebuyers. This professional also will provide expert tips, enabling you to streamline the process of selling your house. Remove the guesswork from the home selling journey – become an informed first-time home seller, and you can speed up the process of generating interest in your house.





Posted by Todd Finn on 4/9/2017

Mice and rats are extremely smart animals. Once they've learned a route they will never forget it. They are social animals that enjoy the company of other mice or even--as in the case of pet mice and rats--humans, and can learn to respond to their own names if trained properly. But having a family of wild mice in your home is something most of us don't celebrate over. They can get into your food, your pet's food, and cause minor damage to your home by chewing holes. So what can you do if you suspect mice have been living rent-free in your house? This article will cover how to trap mice, release them, and prevent them from entering your home in the first place.

Preventing mice from finding their way in

Since mice are such smart and industrious creatures, there's a good chance you'll have some find a way in at some time or another. Unfortunately, once inside and once they have found a food source, mice aren't likely to leave of their own accord. Most people don't want to have to resort to trapping or killing mice. So, prevention is really the best option when it comes to keeping mice out of your home. Seal up your house. Securing the outside of your home is the first step to preventing mice from entering. Since they can fit into cracks as small as the diameter of a penny you'll need to comb the exterior of your home to look for any spaces they could enter. Mice repellant. You can also use peppermint oil or cotton balls in spaces you think mice might enter your home. They hate the smell and will steer clear.

What to do if there are mice inside

If it's too late to prevent a family of mice from entering your home you'll have to try out other options. Some people choose to set up traps that snap shut and kill the mice. Others use glue traps that mice get stuck to. The problem with these traps are that they can cause the animal to suffer, suffocating or dehydrating to death as they struggle to get free. There are, fortunately, more humane methods of trapping mice. No-kill traps. Certain mouse traps lure mice in and then close a door behind them so you can take them outside to release them. If you take this route it's important that you check the trap a few times a day. Mice have high metabolisms and can easily die of dehydration in under 24 hours. Cat and mouse. Another option is to borrow or adopt a feline friend. Mice aren't as likely to stick around a house if they know there's a cat around. Here you risk having the cat kill or maim the mice, however. Cut off the food supply. Sealing your food in glass jars and keeping dog food in heavy plastic containers can be enough to get mice to look elsewhere for food.  




Tags: mice   mice in house   pests   house pests  
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