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A Safe Halloween is a Happy Halloween!

halloweenBy Courtney Soinski

Are you ready for Halloween? Before you go trick-or-treating with your kids or get your home ready for trick-or-treaters, there are some things you should know. It’s understandable that with the excitement of the season, both children and adults may not be as careful as they would normally be – This is why it’s now more important than ever to use the right safety precautions.

Here are some helpful tips to follow this Halloween:

  1. Avoid long costumes that hit or drag on the ground as they can pose a tripping hazard.
  2. Incorporate bright colors in your costume and add reflective stripes.
  3. Carry a battery-powered flashlight or glow stick
  4. Costume accessories such as knives or swords should be made of soft foam with no sharp edges and make sure they are easy to carry.
  5. Any masks worn with your costume should not restrict your vision or cover your eyes. Also, make sure your breathing is not restricted with the mask on.
  6. Teach children to stay away from open flames such as jack-o-lanterns that hold candles in them.
  7. Some Halloween decorations can catch fire easily including dried flowers, cornstalks or paper. Keep these away from any open flames as well as power sources like heaters and light bulbs.
  8. Stay on sidewalks when possible. If there aren’t any sidewalks, walk on the left side of the road facing traffic.
  9. Only cross the street at corners and crosswalks.
  10. Clear your yard of items such as hoses, leashes, or anything that can be tripped over.
  11. If using candles, keep the walkways and porches clear.
  12. Make sure costumes are flame-retardant
  13. Instruct kids to not eat their candy before having an adult look them over.
  14. Leave your porch light on so trick-or-treaters will know it’s okay to knock on your door.
  15. Make sure young children are accompanied by an adult before trick-or-treating from door to door.

By following these safety tips, you’ll keep Halloween safe and fun. You’ll make wonderful Halloween memories with your children, and they will hopefully carry on those same traditions with their own families one day.

Have a spooky, safe, and Happy Halloween!!

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Enhance Your Home’s Exterior During National Curb Appeal Month

August is National Curb Appeal Month, dedicated to helping homeowners focus on ways to add value and design appeal to their home’s exterior.







“Real estate agents tell us that potential home buyers make a ‘street decision’ in less than 12 seconds on whether or not to view a home that’s for sale,” says Niki Decker, senior manager of product and marketing for Fypon, creator of National Curb Appeal Month. “That’s a very short time to make a large impression and it all relies on the curb appeal of the house.

“Different curb appeal elements, such as well-maintained shrubbery, decorative millwork and trim, colorful plants and an appealing front entryway can have a fast, positive impact on home buyers. Even if your home is not for sale, curb appeal is important in setting a welcoming tone for your family and visitors.”

According to the 2014 Cost vs. Value Study conducted by Remodeling magazine, many products added to the home have a high return-on-investment at the time of a home sale. Adding energy-efficient vinyl windows as a mid-range project to a home can have a cost recoup value of 78.7 percent, while the addition of vinyl siding can have 78.2 percent recoup rate.

The same study reports that the replacement of an easy-care fiberglass entry door can have 70.8 percent of the cost recouped, while a new roof on the home has a 67.6 percent cost recoup. A recent study from the National Association of Home Builders reports that the three most wanted outdoor features consumers desire for their home exteriors are lighting, a patio and a front porch.

“Whether you’re adding a new component to the home’s exterior or ‘sprucing up’ existing elements, color plays a major role in creating curb appeal,” says Kate Smith, president of Sensational Color. “Adding color to the home exterior should be done in a ‘top-down’ approach so there’s a unified flow that creates an overall pleasing impression.

Source: Fypon

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2014. All rights reserved.

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Give Millennial Homebuyers What They Want.

YoungHomeby Courtney Soinski

With the wide range of people in today’s millennial generation, it is crucial that you learn everything you can about them so you can target effectively to get more leads and sell more homes. We’ll discuss millennials’ shopping habits, favorite home features and most importantly, what they look for in an agent.

If you read my previous article on this topic, then you know that “Millennials” are those born after 1982 and more and more of them are entertaining the idea of home ownership.

Also known as “Generation Y”, this group has the largest share of homebuyers at 31 percent, according to NAR’s Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends.  Additionally, 76 percent of millennials are buying a home for the first time.

How do millennials shop?

It would not be a surprise to most to say that millennials tend to embrace new technology in their home search and are pretty much glued to their smart phones and social media networks like Facebook and Twitter.  It is also important to note that while millennials are digitally inclined, they continue to rely heavily on traditional media and move seamlessly between all, consuming information from all sources, sometimes at the same time.   They are highly likely to read magazines (94%) and visit websites they’ve seen in magazines (89%) as reported in the “Magazine Media Factbook for 2013/2014.”   In other words, they use everything.

According to a study by OmnicomMediaGroup, millennials want recommendations, reviews and ratings to guide them through the shopping process.  This generation was hit hard by the recession, so they want to be absolutely confident in what they are about to buy.  Simply put, millennials demand control of their shopping experience.

What home features are most important to millennials?

Millennials decide on the area they want to live on depending on the overall quality of the neighborhood and the home’s convenience to work.  According to this study, commuting costs are “very important” to 37 percent of millennial buyers and 36 percent of millennials place great importance on heating and cooling costs.  Younger buyers are more likely to buy previously owned homes because it is a better price and better overall value.  Also, 19 percent of millennials live in urban areas, which is the largest amount of any generation thus far.

Here are some home features that will attract millennials:
  • Convenience to job
  • Affordable heating and cooling costs
  • 3 bedrooms or more and 2 full bathrooms
  • Kitchen – Upgraded energy-efficient appliances, island work space and pantry
  • Main Bedroom Suite – walk-in closet, full bath and sitting room
  • Porch/Deck – outdoor entertaining area
What do millennials look for in a real estate agent?

The majority of millennials are first-time homebuyers, so they want a real estate agent they can trust.  They were born into the information age and are used to instant gratification, so it’s very important that their real estate agent is quick to respond.  It was found that 90 percent of homebuyers aged 33 and younger used a real estate agent.  They also searched on their own for about 2 weeks before contacting a Realtor®. Here are some expectations that millennials have of real estate agents:

  • Help buyer understand the process
  • Find and arrange financing
  • Help with paperwork
  • Negotiate better sales contract terms
  • Provide a better list of service providers
  • Shorten buyer’s home search
Most important traits in a real estate agent:
  • Honest and trustworthy
  • Good reputation
  • Knowledge of the neighborhood
  • Caring personality and good listener
  • Timely with responses
  • Seems 100% accessible because of use of technology like tablet or smartphone
  • Calls personally and sends emails with updates
  • Communicates via text message
  • Has a web page and mobile site to show properties
  • Active on Facebook and other social networking sites


Sources: OMG Proprietary Millennials Study, Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, National Association of Realtors

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